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 – March


Looking for a sequence of activities you can implement in your afterschool program today? Say goodbye to googling or searching on Pinterest. Use the following activities in sequence to support youth in building an engineering mindset. 

Civil Engineering: Civil Engineers manage, design, develop, create, and maintain projects.  design roads, bridges, airports and structures that improve daily life.

  • Activity: Build the Best Paper Bridge – Bridges come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Use this simple activity to demonstrate civil engineering design. 
  • Role Model Example: Alecia Boler Davis – Mrs. Davis is a civil engineer who is known for her skills in Operations and Engineering.  In 2016 she became Executive Vice President of global manufacturing. 

Biomedical Engineering: Biomedical engineers combine engineering principles with medical and biological sciences to design and create equipment, devices, computer systems, and software used in healthcare.

  • Activity: My Mechanical Ear Can Hear! – Worn by young and old, hearing aids are electronic devices that amplify sound at different levels for different pitches. Students are introduced to the types of biomedical devices that engineers have designed to aid people with this physical disability. 
  • Role Model Example: Lisa Goel – Mrs. Goel is a Vice President, Technology Operations & Business Innovations

at Nanobiosym.

Electrical Engineering: Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. 

  • Activity: Measure Static Electricity With An Electroscope! – Youth explore how well materials around the house produce static electricity by making a simple, homemade electroscope (an instrument that detects electric charges) and testing it out.
  • Role Model Example: Carlotta A. Berry, PhD – Dr Berry is an electrical engineer who also works in robotics at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. She specializes in human-robot interaction, human-robot interfaces, robotics education, mobile robotics, diversity in STEM.  She is part of the Black in Robotics Speakers Bureau 

Looking for EVEN More Activities at NASA?! Activity Toolkit: Engineering is Elementary’s NASA Partnership free units – A suite of free NASA-funded STEM resources for students in grades 3-8. All resources are research-based and classroom-tested. They are designed to support students’ understanding of space, while helping them see themselves as capable problem solvers.





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


Women’s History Month
  • NGCP National Webinar “STEM Stories: Women’s Experiences Advocating for Equity” – In this webinar recording, participants will hear from NGCP fellows about their experiences working on diverse projects, including the IF/THEN® Collection, NGCP Annual Survey, and supporting State Collaboratives.
  • A Mighty Girl “16 Women Scientists You Should Know” – In this blog post, we’re sharing the stories of 16 historic female scientists who have blazed new trails in their disciplines. From determining the size of the universe to unlocking the secrets of the genetic code, these women have forever changed the way we see our world. 
  • National Women’s History Museum Digital Classroom Resources – Explore classroom-ready resources created by the Museum and through the “For Educators, by Educators” initiative.  There are lesson plans, biographies, posters, primary sources, and more. You can search by topic, theme, or resource type. Select “STEM” from the topic menu for STEM-relevant resources.
  • Not the Science Type Docuseries – Not The Science Type gets to the heart of access and gender inequity in STEM education and STEM fields. This four-part docu-series features four female scientists who are challenging stereotypes and confronting gender, racial, and age discrimination as they rise to prominence.
Transformative Practices
  • Toolkit: Women’s History Month | Managing American Spaces ( Resource Toolkit for Women’s History Month contains lesson plans, discussion guides, posters, social media, and movies about the struggle for women’s equality in the United States, as well as, women’s rights globally.
  • Toolkit: Math Equity Toolkit – This toolkit layers professional development into “Strides” that educators can take along a path to equitable education. Topics include Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction and Creating Conditions to Thrive.
  • Website: Math Communities – Students, parents, and educators coming together to play with math!  Math Communities creates a virtual community that provides free access to joyful collaborative activities designed by professional mathematicians and math educators  for K-12 students, educators, and families. There are lots of ways to communicate with other folks interested in math.
  • Toolkit: Brokering Youth Pathways: A Toolkit for Connecting Youth to Future Opportunity  from the Hive Research Network – This toolkit shares ways in which various out-of-school educators and professionals have approached the challenge of brokering. We provide a framework, practice briefs and reports that focus on a particular issue or challenge and provide concrete examples, as well as illustrate how our partners worked through designing new brokering routines in partnership with our research team.


Training and Professional Development – June

Training and Professional Development – June

LOCAL OPPORTUNITIES   WEBINARS Asking Purposeful Questions- Evening Cohort Mondays: 6/10, 6/17, and 6/24 at 6PM- 8PM EST / 3PM - 5PM PST Questions begin a path toward discovery, imagination, and STEM exploration. How can we help youth expand and clarify their...

Activities & Resources for Programs – June

Activities & Resources for Programs – June

Activities Interactive online resource: Surfers Against Sewage Virtual Tour | Explore in 360° ( Videos and interactive activities to teach about conservation.  After learning about them, students have the opportunity to protect the resources....

Activities & Resources for Programs – May

Activities & Resources for Programs – May

Activities Activity (engineering):  How Does a Wind Meter Work? | Science Project ( 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,...