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June 17, 2014

As the days grow warmer and your program transitions from school year to summer time activities, sometimes it can be a challenge to keep your students focused and engaged. Why not take advantage of all those distractions and build some activities around them?

Would they rather be outside having a picnic? Okay, think of all the great places that could lead to…

> Investigating the beneficial aspects of “picnic pests” like mosquitos, bees, and ants
> Exploring the fundamental benefits and dangers in sunshine
Learning the science behind making ice cream

This is just a small list of suggestions, but they demonstrate how easy it is to get started down the path to some fun and educational activities.

What are your students distracted by? Once you know that, you can develop some good driving questions that are relevant to their interests. Then you develop activities around those interests and that’s where the fun – and the learning – begins!

You can find more summer time tips and tools on Y4Y related to both STEM and Project-Based Learning. And don’t forget to share your ideas in the Discussion Boards! That’s a great place to ask your colleagues for suggestions or to share your stories after your projects are complete.



December 9, 2013

Last month the Y4Y team had the opportunity to collaborate with 21st CCLC grantees from Maryland around promising practices for aligning programming with school day learning. Grantees brainstormed and shared their ideas for creatively embedding learning standards in their activities. Programs that already had an academic focus found strategies for boosting the development of 21st Century skills, including one STEM-focused program that turned students' love of talking into a public speaking exercise on the topic of college and career readiness.

Thanks to all of the programs that shared their ideas with us, and we encourage you to keep sharing with the Y4Y user community in the Discussion Boards!  



July 22, 2013

Thunderstorms, lightning bugs, ocean waves, and Fourth of July fireworks add up to sunny, hot, and humid days bursting with energetic children ready to have fun. Ah, summer!

Y4Y is here to help your summer program channel that energy and combine it with the spirit of summer for a focused approach to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The excitement of summer aligns well with the principles of inquiry-based learning and STEM concepts. Try out some of the resources in the Y4Y STEM content module to encourage exploration and discovery in your summer program.  



July 22, 2013

The freedom of summertime helps you get students outside to explore the natural world and your surrounding community, which opens many opportunities for STEM learning right in your own backyard. Since summer usually brings at least a few extremely hot days and a few very stormy days, you may find yourselves unable to go outdoors at times. Don’t worry – Y4Y resources can help spark students’ interest in STEM, indoors or out.

For example, the STEM Everywhere Activities chart provides detailed ideas for bringing STEM into your program in a variety of ways. Although the document is targeted to school-year programs, the ideas translate into summertime with ease. Try out some of the activities for rainy days and match them up with outdoor extensions to truly bring them to life for your students.  



July 22, 2013

Take a look at the Network section of Y4Y to see what your peers from around the country have posted to the Discussion Boards about Low Cost STEM. They’ve found some great resources that work well for them in their programs, and the activities translate well into summertime.

Also in the Network section, you’ll find a recording of a STEM webinar hosted by the Y4Y Team. The special guest speakers demonstrate how they have sparked enthusiasm in students through exciting activities and projects.

With these ideas, STEM fun could be just a click or a phone call away. Another webinar shares the Y4Y team’s ideas for summer plans that get your students going with hands-on STEM and other summer-friendly activities.

You can also post your own STEM ideas to the Discussion Boards. Add low-cost STEM ideas here or start a new thread on the board (don't forget - you have to be logged in to post, but registration is free!). Your impact will go beyond your own program, helping students in other locations enjoy and learn about STEM this summer.