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Great Innovations


Science Buddies Kits

Innovators: Liam Casey

Developed At: University of Rochester


What is this project about?

Informal learning settings, such as after school programs, can provide excellent opportunities to engage children in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). According to a 2009 report, America After 3PM, sponsored by the JCPenney Afterschool Fund, 17% of U.S. students in grades K-5 (4,505,912 children) attend after school programs. New York State is one of the top ten states for after school programming, with 20% of grade K-5 students (301,373) enrolled in after-school care (Afterschool Alliance, 2009). After school programs (which include school-based and non-school based “daycare”, as well as summer and school vacation programs) can provide ideal settings for hands-on, inquiry-based STEM learning. Evaluations of STEM-focused after school programs have shown that these programs lead to increased interest, knowledge and skill, and in some cases improved high school graduation rates and pursuit of STEM careers among participating children (Afterschool Alliance, 2011).

Despite the value of STEM activities, our experience working with students in the Greater Rochester Area through our UR Science Buddies After School Program has revealed that few after school programs offer hands-on STEM activities. This project will involve development of hands-on science activities and kits for elementary school-aged children (grades 3-5) that can be easily be implemented in after-school programs, science clubs, science camps, or in-school outreach programs. These kits will employ an innovative and unique combination of characteristics that increase the likelihood of adoption by informal science educators by:

  • Creating hands-on activities that encourage elementary school children to apply their natural curiosity to learning about science and engineering practices.
  • Using “lab in a bag” kits to make preparation for hand-on activities easy, economical and convenient for informal educators
  • Providing clear and concise instructor’s guides appropriate for informal educators who may not have a background in science
Funding Period Over
This project will only be funded if at least $5,000 is pledged by June 15th. You credit card will not be charged unless the funding goal is met.
You credit card will not be charged unless the funding goal is met.