A project of the Afterschool Alliance

Afterschool STEM

Afterschool programs are a natural space to provide engaging, hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning. Show off the exciting opportunities available to your students, or introduce kids and parents to STEM at your event.

Team up with STEM Partners

There are many entities in a community that have an interest in or mission to improve K-12 STEM education. You can harness this interest by using Lights On Afterschool as an opportunity to connect with new partners or as way to grow current partners’ engagement and commitment to afterschool.

  • Science centers and museums: These institutions are all about hands-on learning and employ staff with a deep knowledge of science and engineering topics. They are often eager to reach audiences outside the museum walls and look to better serve underserved communities.
  • STEM professionals: Our communities are full of STEM experts who may relish the opportunity to share their expertise and passion. Invite a local biologist, engineer, or computer scientist to lead an activity and share their story. All kids need positive role models and mentors to help envision themselves as someone who can do STEM, and Lights On is perfect opportunity to introduce a STEM professional to your kids!
    • To find a mentor, start with people you know, like a friend or a parent of a student. Next, try reaching out to local chapters of professional membership organizations, like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers or the Society of Women Engineers. If you’d like to connect with an industry partner, their community relations department can help identify interested employees. Don’t forget about higher education staff and students—start with their K-12 outreach department or STEM student groups. You can also search the FabFems database to find a female STEM professional already interested in working with youth.
    • To make the experience positive for both students and your volunteer STEM professional, check out the Role Models Matter toolkit for tools to plan and structure the visit, resources to train the professional on working with kids, and activity ideas tied to STEM careers.
  • Other STEM education partners: You might also consider zoos and aquaria, parks and nature centers, or government agencies as partners for your Lights On event.
Talk Afterschool STEM with Schools and Families

It’s important to communicate the importance of STEM education and how afterschool uniquely supports STEM learning to both school partners and the families we serve. In response to this need, we co-developed a guide with the National AfterSchool Association to help afterschool program staff speak articulately about these issues. The guide includes talking points, conversation starters and social media guidance.

For a deeper dive in how to talk about STEM and afterschool, visit afterschoolSTEMhub.org

Watch the Webinar

If you’re looking for ideas and suggestions for how to talk compellingly about your STEM programs and put together a STEM-themed Lights On Afterschool event, this webinar is for you!

We all know that afterschool programs are a great way to get children and youth excited about STEM and should be integral partners in STEM education. Yet all too frequently parents, community leaders, and policy makers don’t understand how big of an impact that afterschool programs can have on STEM education.

Hosting a Lights On Afterschool event presents a unique opportunity to showcase the amazing work that you are doing in the STEM world to your community and to the stakeholders that can make a real difference for your program.

Get free resources from STEMfinity

As you plan your Lights On Afterschool event, check out this extensive database of thousands of free STEM resources from the team at STEMfinity. Check out the database for new ideas and resources to spark an interest in STEM at your Lights On Afterschool celebration and complement your afterschool STEM programming in the months to come.

The resources span science, technology, engineering, math, coding and programming, and they include webinars, videos, digital tools and platforms, activities, and lesson plans.

Dive into these tools and resources now to find STEM activities for your upcoming Lights On Afterschool event, and keep them bookmarked as a reference for your STEM programming throughout the year.

Ideas to Celebrate STEM
MO

Partnership Brings 'Mad Science' to Afterschool Kids

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Four Weeks
MO

Spooky STEM Open Houses at Four Sites

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Weeks
MN

Project STEM: From Nano Puppets to A Blue Tongued Skink

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
MI

Sciencepalooza

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
LA

Students & Scientists Take Turns Showcasing STEM 

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Two Weeks
IL

Celebration of National Youth Science Day Features Mayor & Fab Lab

Activity: Maker Faire/Hackerspace/DIY
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks
IL

Skatepark Physics and More at State Museum

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | One Weeks
ID

Open House & Science Demos with Local Leaders

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks
FL

Exploring STEM & Career Paths

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Weeks
FL

Lights On Afterschool Science Fair

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Expert | Two Weeks
FL

The Force is Strong in Afterschool

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks
DE

STEAM Glow in the Dark Celebration

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
CA

Jiggle Jelly at Science Museum

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | One Weeks
CA

The Physics of Mini-Golf

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Weeks
AL

Kids Explore Science Center

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks

Potato Power Turns Lights On Afterschool

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | One Weeks
AZ

Ventana Vista CARE

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: | Four Weeks
ID

Idaho Afterschool Network

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
ID

Spark Afterschool

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Four Weeks
ID

Mountain Home AFB Youth Programs

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Four Weeks
MO

Twin Pike Family YMCA

Activity: Other
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Weeks
NJ

After-School All-Stars New York/New Jersey

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Six Weeks
NM

Park Avenue Kids After School Program

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
ND

South East Educational Cooperative

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | One Weeks
OH

Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association

Activity: Other
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Four Weeks
OH

Boys & Girls Club of Dayton

Activity: Maker Faire/Hackerspace/DIY
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Four Weeks
OK

TOUCH Tulsa

Activity: Maker Faire/Hackerspace/DIY
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Three Weeks
OR

Youth Development Coalition of Lincoln County

Activity: Other
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Four Weeks
WA

Rocket Science at Lights On Afterschool

Activity: Maker Faire/Hackerspace/DIY
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | One Weeks
WA

Electricifying STEM Carnival 

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | One Weeks
WA

Flying High with Hot Air Balloons

Activity: Other
Theme: STEM
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks
WI

Making Magic with Arts and STEM

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
WY

Aeronautics Open House

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: STEM
Level: Beginner | One Weeks
WY

Math Spooktacular and Science Expo with Policymakers

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: STEM
Level: | Three Weeks