The South Dakota Afterschool Network works to better our state and its communities by connecting providers, parents and policymakers with proven tools and resources to increase the quality of and access to out-of-school time programming for K-12 children and youth.

Afterschool is a lifeline that keeps youth safe, helps kids learn and grow, and provides parents the ability to work without worry. While South Dakota is home to more than 300 afterschool programs, the demand for programs exceeds available spaces. In fact, 1 in 3 South Dakota children (34 percent) who are not in an afterschool program would be enrolled if it were available. That’s more than 42,000 children who are missing out on opportunities to participate in programming that supports their development academically, socially and economically.

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Afterschool can provide valuable opportunities for students to explore STEM, and we are here to help your program succeed in STEM Learning! From webinars and trainings to our signature TMC Trailers that bring turnkey STEM activities to your doorstep, our diverse collection of resources meets you and your students where you are and provides the support you need to deliver quality programming to your students at any age. 

The South Dakota Afterschool Network wanted to create a mapping tool to better understand the landscape of afterschool and summer programs available for children and families. From the initial launch of the new mapping tool, we have identified some startling findings.

Activities & Resources for Programs – April

Activities

Video: dna activities for kids – Yahoo Search Results Video Search Results This video designed for kids is a fun/exciting way to introduce DNA to children. In this video kids will learn facts all about DNA, what it is made of, chromosomes, traits and much more. There are additional DNA teaching resources, including a free lesson plan found here: https://learnbright.org/lessons/science/dna …

Student Activity: PLT_GreenJobs_MonitoringForestHealth.pdf Through a variety of health indicators, learners assess the health of a forested area and see how soil scientists, wildlife biologists, arborists, and other forest professionals monitor forests. This activity supports STEM identity by relati through role model and career connections.

Student Activity: How To Make Seed Bombs – Little Bins for Little Hands Kick off your spring science with a fun Earth Day activity and make seed bombs with your kids! Super easy and fun to make, help youth connect to their impact on the environment start a new tradition to celebrate Earth Day and learn how to make seed bombs or seed balls. This website also features other STEM activities for kids in environmental education. 

Student Activity: Do-It-Yourself DNA | STEM Activity (sciencebuddies.org)  In this activity, you will make your own DNA extraction kit from household chemicals and use it to extract DNA from strawberries.

Student Activity: Investigate Alien Genetics | Lesson Plan (sciencebuddies.org) Students model how traits are passed on from parents to their offspring by creating baby aliens based on the alien parents’ traits. As students compare the physical features of their alien families, they will be able to make the connection between an organism’s genotype and phenotype. Students will also learn the difference between dominant and recessive traits.

Student Activity: Extracting Onion DNA | Science Project (sciencebuddies.org)In this project, you’ll learn how to isolate DNA from onion cells, separating it from other cellular components in a manner that still preserves its structure and sequence. In the end, you’ll have enough DNA to see with the unaided eye, and you’ll be able to spool it to demonstrate its strand-like structure.

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Click on the links below to access curated mini units of STEM-based curriculum from SDAN.

Activity Guide: Getting Electric

Activity Guide: Inside My Body

Activity Guide: Building Great Structures

Activity Guide: Harnessing Air 

Activity Guide: City Build 2040

Activity Guide: Star Wars

Activity Resources: Native American Heritage Resources

Activity Resources: Spooky Science Resources

Resources

Transformative Practices

The Million Girls Moonshot aims to raise awareness of the following four research-based practices — Equity and Inclusion, Engineering Mindsets, Role Model, Mentors, and Families, and STEM Pathways and Transition — proven to remove barriers to access and quality STEM learning experiences. Resources, toolkits, blogs, and activities that elevate these four Transformative Practices can be found below and on the Million Girls Moonshot Toolkit

  • Equity and Inclusion

    • Access to STEM Framework: To improve the overall quality of out-of-school STEM programs, we need to address how program providers design and implement programming to increase access in STEM for youth who have been underrepresented in the STEM fields. Partnering with the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) and national experts, we have developed an Access to STEM Framework — a guide for supporting program providers in this transformation. Download the Framework.
    • Elevating Youth Voice in STEM Programming Webinar: One way to ensure your program is youth-centric is to elevate youth voice and empower youth to take charge of their own STEM experiences. In this webinar recording, presenters share their knowledge and first-hand experiences promoting or using their voices and developing leadership skills to support and promote STEM learning in their communities.
    • Cultural Competence in Afterschool Programs: A chapter on how programs address the increasing and cultural diversity in the United States. Program leaders need to consider how to adapt their program to make it culturally relevant to the youth and families they serve. This chapter explores the meaning of cultural relevance, how to design cultural competence afterschool programs, and how to tailor cultural competence to meet local needs. 

    Engineering Mindsets

    • Engineering Mindset Overview: An engineering mindset refers to the attitudes and thinking skills associated with engineering — using a systematic engineering design process, considering real-world problems, applying math and science, and working in teams. The Moonshot focuses on 10 engineering practices. An overview of each practice follows and subsequent briefs will explore each one individually.
    • Engineering Design Process: This resource helps educators understand design process and how to facilitate engineering activities with kids 

    Role Models, Mentors, and Families

    Role models, mentors, and family engagement in a young person’s STEM education leads to increased interest, greater self-confidence, and ultimately a stronger STEM identity. Developing a science-related identity increases the likelihood that students will work toward developing science literacy, or even pursue a career in a science or STEM-related field.

    Continuous STEM Learning Pathways

    Research tells us that continuous engagement and exposure rather than limited one-time opportunities are needed to nurture the interest and motivation necessary for children to pursue STEM pathways long term. The Moonshot aims to understand and support transitions and handoffs that remove barriers for youth by connecting STEM learning across ages and settings, ensuring youth interest and motivation persists.

    • Possible Futures — Career Exploration Curriculum: Open source curriculum that complements and enriches both school and afterschool settings 1) expanding career awareness through authentic experiential learning opportunities; 2) encouraging students to explore their diverse interests, talents, and options; 3) enlivening STEM subjects by bringing in real-world and career contexts; 4) empowering students to develop vital employability skills; and 5) engaging students in making informed choices.

    Below are some adaptations of the Possible Futures Career Exploration Curriculum specifically for afterschool and summer programs:

    • Career Foundations Adaptation: A collection of 14 lessons, a streamlined combination of the Lenses on the Future and Skills for Success units of Possible Futures curriculum.
    • College and Career Readiness Toolkit: Maryland Out of School Time (MOST) embedded the Career Foundations Unit of Possible Futures into this toolkit that serves as a guide for OST providers.

Related

Activities & Resources for Programs – May

Activities & Resources for Programs – May

Activities Activity (engineering):  How Does a Wind Meter Work? | Science Project (sciencebuddies.org) On a windy day it is hard to keep your hat on! The power of the wind can even be strong enough to power large wind turbines to make electricity! In this experiment,...

Training and Professional Development – May

Training and Professional Development – May

LOCAL OPPORTUNITIES   WEBINARS Teen Science Cafe Fellows- 2024-2025 Information Session May 23rd 4:30-5:30pm ET/ 1:30-2:30pm PT The Teen Science Cafe (TSC) Fellows initiative is a ten-month training program designed to help informal educators implement Teen...

Project Brainy

Project Brainy

Project Brainy Project Brainy is a six-session neuroscience-based curriculum designed for out of school time (OST) programs. The curriculum enables middle-school students to build social-emotional skills, engage in interactive STEM learning and increase literacy....