Bringing STEM Education from Niche to Necessary: the Every Hour Counts FUSE 3.0 Institute

This post originally appeared on STEM Next, a national leader in increasing opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning for youth across communities both in and out of school.

Editor’s Note: In 2010, ExpandED Schools and Every Hour Counts launched the Frontiers in Urban Science Education project with support from the Noyce Foundation. The project aims to scale access to high-quality STEM learning for kids in out-of-school time programs, building off lessons piloted in New York City by ExpandED Schools. In 2014, the FUSE project published a resource guide of strategies to advance informal science education in after-school, and is now leading six organizations from across the country in connecting out-of-school and in-school STEM learning with the Next Generation Science Standards.

“What variable do you think students were testing during the Rockin’ Rockets Design Challenge?” Jasmine Maldonado, Science Coach Supervisor from the New York Hall of Science, asked FUSE 3.0 Winter Institute participants before testing the rockets in the video above. The question sparked a buzz of conversation around the room as participants explored how the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) can be applied to expanded learning.

The presentation allowed us to step into students’ shoes to experience learning rooted in NGSS firsthand. We used our observation, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork skills to analyze the design variables students tested in the rocket challenge. We quickly realized that we were flexing the same social-emotional skills (SEL) to answer Maldonado’s question that students must use to be successful in the Challenge. The exercise highlighted a key FUSE theme: there are many ways to integrate both content acquisition and youth development in high-quality STEM learning.

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The Next Generation of Science Education

This post originally appeared on the blog of Boston After School & Beyond and is written by Ellen Dickenson, the organization’s Program Director, Partnerships and STEM.

Together with an outstanding team of educators from Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, we had the pleasure of participating in a recent workshop hosted byThe After-School Corporation and Every Hour Counts, facilitated by Cary Sneider, a lead writer of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and supported by the Noyce Foundation. Our revelation while working with Cary was this: though the performance standards of the NGSS are almost identical to the existing Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, the NGSS brings them to life through a three-dimensional approach to teaching science.

When core disciplinary ideas are integrated with practice and crosscutting concepts in this way, STEM subjects become an ideal platform for teaching the skills necessary to achieve, connect, and thrive at school, in the workplace, and in life. (You can read more on that in this FUSE: Next Generation strategy brief.)

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