Facilitator Guide

Each STEM Experience provides you with daily activity summaries, supplies lists, ordering information, and a draft letter to families. But putting on a great STEM Experience is more than having good activities. Whether you're new to hosting a STEM program or a veteran, we've outlined 5 things you'll want to get right from the start.  

Check out our tips and resources, and join the conversation on our STEM Experience Playbook Facebook group to let us know if you have other tips we can learn from!

With vaccinations widely available for everyone aged 6 months and older, in-person STEM Experiences should consider the most recent guidance from the CDC to protect all students and adults from COVID-19 risks. These precautions should be taken in addition to best practices for safety outlined in resources such as the Opportunity Project's standards.

2. Huddle Up

Out-of-school activities are a great way to ensure students are connecting with their community.  Ensure the STEM Experience is designed in partnership from the beginning by inviting partners to collaborate on goal development, curriculum, and facilitating activities. 

If you don't already have partners, take time to reach out and share your vision. There may be some opportunities to collaborate this summer or to begin building a relationship so you can accomplish your goals next year.

3. Make a Winning Gameplan

According to EdRecovery's review of evidence-based research, there are 7 design principles of effective voluntary summer learning program (which could be applied to any out-of-school learning experience): (1) Duration, (2) Class Size, (3) Attendance, (4) Enrichment Activities, (5) Academic Curriculum, (6) Academic Teachers, (7) Enrichment Teachers, and (8) Administration.

4. Scout and Recruit Your Team

Research indicates that underserved students have less access to enrichment experiences. When inviting students to participate, prioritize underserved groups including students of color, students in poverty, students learning English and students with disabilities. Survey students to identify the enrichment activities they are most interested in and design summer learning around those interests. Be intentional about selecting and including activities that represent the interests of historically underserved students.

5. Elevate Your Game

To reach all kids with high-quality STEM programming, activities must be designed to effectively address Learning Environment, Activity Engagement, STEM Knowledge and Practices, and Youth Development in STEM. These four dimensions come from the Dimensions of Success (DoS) Program Planning Tool developed by the Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR). At TRSA, we strongly recommend that educators, directors, and caregivers use the DoS Program Planning Tool as they plan STEM activities for their summer programs.

BONUS. Instant Replay

If you're anything like us, you never want to stop improving. With this in mind, start by giving yourself some grace. It's been a long several years, and we all need a little break. Identify a few things you really want to get right for your upcoming STEM Experience. Tell everyone, imagine what it looks like when it works, and get to work. For the things you'd like to get better next time, write them down, look for opportunities this year to improve, and build a plan to address them next time. 

For more of our favorite resources, check below:

While aspects of the guidance found at the following resources are included or linked to above, we want to ensure these resources are easily accessible as they represent some of the best and most helpful guidance we've come across.

We're here to help!

We offer free consultation sessions to get your STEM experience off the ground.

Explore our lending library of educational tools and funding opportunities.

Our flexible activities allow educators to incorporate a hour activity to a semester-long afterschool program.

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