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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.  

July 22, 2013

One of the best things about STEM learning is that so many programs are doing it so many different ways! What will work best for your students? Try a variety of topics and approaches and see what fits. You can find some great ideas for summer STEM activities in Y4Y’s Learn More Library. For example, get some new ideas from The Globe Program for inquiry-based learning about the environment and our planet, NatureMapping on for technology-inspired fieldwork, and Time To Invent Club for captivating indoor creations.  

June 5, 2013

Is your program seeking additional resources to get next school year off to a great start? In this e-blast, the Y4Y team offers a three-step plan for bolstering your partnership efforts. Tackle just one task each month and you’ll have stronger relationships in place by Labor Day.

First, though, take a moment to absorb the many functions a partner can play in supporting your program. This list from the Learn section of Strengthening Partnerships demonstrates the great potential that’s right down the road. Reach out to others in your community to sell your program. You may find partners that you never knew existed—interested parents, local businesses, civic leaders, churches and other community organizations.

Think about the creativity, energy, and color that a small arts organization could add to your enrichment time by sharing staff as volunteers a few hours per week. What about the wisdom, humor, and guidance that members of local faith-based organizations could provide through biweekly mentoring? The hardware store’s scraps can become versatile supplies for your art corner. And don’t forget the evaluation services a graduate student at the nearby university might be able to provide, pro bono.

Now you’re ready to get started on your to-do list. Keep us posted on your progress through the summer by joining the Partnerships Summer Project Discussion Board conversation.