Active Learning STEM in Out-of-School Time


Be a part of the STEM Active Learning Community Partners!

The STEM Active Learning Community Partners, a committee of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, is focusing efforts to expand and enhance STEM active learning in informal environments with the goal to increase student achievement and interest in STEM. The Iowa Afterschool Alliance is a founding member of this group and is helping to support the continuing work of this group.

Sign up for communications from the STEM Active Learning Community Partners!

Past STEM Newsletters:

Helpful Resources for Advancing the STEM Initiative:

The Iowa Afterschool Alliance has developed a one-pager on how OST supports STEM learning. Please use widely!

Did you know youth who participate in hands-on STEM display increased confidence, increased interest in science, increased positive attitudes, and increased engagement in school? Check out more facts about the STEM Initiative here . 

  • TechBridge Icebreakers and Activities are a great way for role models, educators, and leaders to get involved and make a difference in a student's life. Here is a variety of activities to help "break the ice" and further establish that relationship, simply follow this link!
  • Best Practices from NPASS (National Partnerships in Afterschool Science) were adapted following the NPASS2 3-Hour Workshop where many professionals gathered for professional development and afterschool support. Click here to see these best practices and incorporate them into your afterschool science activities!
  • In combination with the NPASS Best Practices, NPASS Student Badges were developed to reward and acknowledge student success and positive behavior. To begin rewarding students in partnership with the NPASS Best Practices, you can use these badges.
  • Have you ever been curious how to design and run a STEM afterschool program, or simply improve your already existing program? Thanks to TASC (The After-School Corporation), here is a resource to help you do just that: "How To Design and Run Great Programs and Activities."
  • This 21st Century Afterschool Science Project Model aims to help afterschool initiatives incorporate science into their programs. For more information on how to do so successfully, click here.
  • Frontiers in Urban Science Exploration (FUSE) Resource Guide works to provide additional support to informal education and afterschool programs. For strategies to advance STEM education in your program, follow this link!
  • The California AfterSchool Network's STEM Program Planning Tool seeks to provide an applicable resource for programs to establish a process, analyze and list desired outcomes, and advance overall goals. For this useful tool, simply click here!
  • Defining Youth Outcomes for STEM in Afterschool is a comprehensive study that analyzes the roles of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in an afterschool setting. For more information in regards to this study, click here

Facts About Afterschool:

Over 90 percent of our lives is spent outside the classroom in informal learning environments! Check out this infographic:

LIFE Center: Stevens, R. Bransford, J. & Stevens, A., 2005

The Iowa STEM Active Learning Community Partners have developed a case statement explaining why informal STEM is such a critical investment for the state.

Reccommended Curriculum for Afterschool STEM Initiatives:

Did you know that there is recommended curriculum for Afterschool, STEM-based programs? Here is the recommended curriculum for programs wishing to engage or enhance their program!

Techbridge works hard to provide top-quality afterschool, STEM-based activities for programs. Here are some spotlighted engineering/technology-based activities for your enjoyment and to advance informal education in a fun and exciting way:

Activities aren't just limited to technology and engineering, here are some math-based activities to incorporate the "M" in STEM more into your program:
Interested in emphasizing the "S" in STEM, science? Here is a brochure to help you build science into your program more thoroughly. 

Evaluation Tools:

Increase number of opportunities for Iowa youth, families, and adults in high-quality, active learning (informal) STEM outside of the traditional school day. We recently presented the Dimensions of Success (DoS) tool to the STEM Council, here is an overview of what the DoS entails. Are you asking yourself, "Do I understand the Dimensions of Success tool?" Look no further, here is an explanation of the dimensions.

Interested in utilizing the DoS to plan for your programs? Here is a planning tool to help you incorporate the DoS into your programs. 

As you work to incorporate these best practices and standards within your STEM afterschool initiatives, you will need to know some common goals and assessments to progress in a positive direction and evaluate such progress.

Founding members of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance (IAA) and the STEM Initiatives thereof:

If you'd like more information on this group and what they're doing to support informal STEM education, please contact Indira Blazevic at


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