In the last few years there has been a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities in education. After-school programs provide a unique opportunity for students to explore STEM learning in hands on and fun ways.
We know that STEM education is key for students as we move into the future. The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee recognizes the value of STEM skills as crucial for preparing students for the jobs of the future, particularly in relation to the global economy.
After-school programs play an essential role in educating the job force of the future. The Afterschool Alliance highlights three key areas in which afterschool and summer learning programs around the country are impacting students:
- Inspiring and engaging kids in these fields
- Building necessary skills and proficiency
- Inspiring them to pursue majors and careers in STEM fields
Lutheran Social Services After-School and Summer Programs join programs across the nation by providing high quality STEM opportunities for our students. On a typical day you might find students engaged in a wide variety of STEM activities.
Recently, students at our Hilltop program particularly enjoyed a unit on robotics. NASA provides lesson plans and short educational video segments that are used by our teachers to connect fun activities and real life application. In just one exciting unit students met the following objectives:
• Explain how the end effectors for the robotic arms used on the space shuttle and the International Space Station work.
• Design and construct a grapple fixture that will enable the end effector to pick up an object.
• Describe how artificial intelligence allows robots to behave more like humans.
• Provide examples of real-world applications of robotics
After-School and Summer Programs provide a fun and hands-on opportunity for students to explore STEM topics as they are comfortable in their surroundings. Without the pressure of grades or tests, students can try new things, fail and try again. In addition, long term learning can happen when students have the time to start a project and dive into a topic to explore in depth a STEM topic in which they have interest.
To find out more about our programs or to volunteer to share with students about your STEM related career, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.