STEM in Afterschool & Summer

Science Technology Engineering and Math

STEM is Important in Washington

Washington State is rich in STEM-focused industry, yet too few students are graduating with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in STEM careers, especially students of color. The need for good STEM education is broader than the job market as technology blends more and more into everyday life. Basic science literacy and technology skills are necessary to create informed citizens and a skilled workforce.

Afterschool and youth development (AYD) and summer programs can play a critical role in supporting STEM learning. The Afterschool Alliance  writes that high-quality AYD programs can help youth:

  • Develop interest in STEM and STEM learning activities
  • Develop capacities to productively engage in STEM learning activities, and
  • Come to value the goals of STEM and STEM learning activities

A Plan for STEM Afterschool

We and our partners have developed a STEM plan for the Afterschool and Youth Development field in Washington State. Our plan is to:

  • Increasing coordination between the institutions to collectively further goals
  • Increase programs' access to resources, funding, and training

Read Full Plan

Policy and Advocacy

School’s Out is advancing policies to support increased access to quality STEM learning opportunities by:

Our State-wide Advocacy Efforts | Federal Advocacy

Resources for Programs

About STEM in Afterschool

Afterschool Alliance STEM Division: The Afterschool Alliance is a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of afterschool and advocating for support on the national level. The Alliance has a STEM division, and there are resources on the website including advocacy materials, reports, program spotlights, and webinars.

Change the Equation: STEM education website, with a focus on equity.

Edutopia STEM Section: Edutopia writes about a lot of topics, but their STEM coverage is especially useful!

NGSS in Washington State: OSPI's website with information about the rollout of teh Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in Washington. 


NASA Afterschool Universe: NASA has many resources for educators. This particular website is a middle-school astronomy curriculum specifically designed for afterschool programs.

Exploratorium Science Snacks: Lots of science experiments and activities for afterschool programs. Descriptions, photos, templates, and lists of materials.

4-H Science Programs: Learn about 4-H STEM projects happening around the country, and shop for curriculum guides.

Curriculum Reviews

Great Science for Girls: This resource promotes gender equity in STEM. Tools for selecting curricula, as well as advice around offering activities for all.

Science Afterschool Consumer Guide: Descriptions of several science curricula for afterschool programs, including expert and peer reviews.

Online Professional Development

Click2Science: Click2Science is free, online professional development specifically designed for afterschool educators. There are training resources, including videos and agendas for workshops, staff meetings, and coaches.

Growth Mindset Workshop: These online resources represent an introduction to the idea of a growth mindset.

Y for Youth STEM Section: A website designed to support 21st Century Community Learning Centers, but useful for a variety of afterschool and youth development programs, including STEM programs. Includes free online training materials.


Fab Fems: The National Girls Collaborative Project maintains this database of women in STEM fields who have volunteered to mentor girls. Mentors can connect with mentees online as well as in person.

Habits of Mind Institute: habits of mind are what people do when they behave intelligently, the soft skills needed to succeed in the 21st Century. The Habits of Mind Institute offers lots of trainings and workshops on this topic.

Tech Bridge: A non-profit organization supporting girls in STEM. The website includes a number of publications that can help programs connect girls with role-models. Among their resources is a guide for training new mentors.

Maker Movement

Maker Education Initiative: The non-profit, education focused arm of the Maker Movement, whose mission is “to create more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, arts, and learning as a whole through making.” Resources at the website include a guide to setting up a maker space for kids.

Invent to Learn: A comprehensive guide to making and tinkering with kids, but you don’t have to buy the book to connect with the resources at the website. Lots of links here to help you think about and start making with kids, from project ideas to research and articles.

The Connectory

The Connectory is a nationwide directory of STEM programs that allows parents to easily find a program near them that fits their child's interests. We strongly recommend that any program offering STEM learning as a part of its regular programming create an account and list their program on the connectory.

Our Partners

Washington STEM
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
Washington Informal Science Education Consortium
National Girls Collaborative Project
Pacific Science Center
Museum of Flight
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington