About STEM

Why STEM in afterschool?

Nearly 80% of future careers will require some STEM skills. A stimulating STEM education is essential for developing the basic analytical, problem-solving and critical thinking skills central to academic achievement and workforce readiness in the 21st century.

Schools can’t tackle this issue by themselves. Children spend less than 20% of their waking hours in school. Afterschool programs offer both additional time and the opportunity to diversify the ways that students experience STEM learning.

Afterschool programs complement and supplement school-day learning and are well-positioned to engage and motivate participants. By offering innovative hands-on, project-based learning, STEM fields come alive for youth.




A Makerspace is a learning environment rich with possibilities. As new hardware and software tools for making, digital design, and fabrication are emerging, we’re working together — with teachers and community leaders — to place those tools into the hands of a wider audience. We’re building the infrastructure for more kids and adults to connect to a future in which they can personally change, modify or “hack” the physical world, creating things that were nearly impossible to do on their own just a few years ago. Making is about getting hands-on, using these new technologies and basic tools, to do real and personally meaningful work.

We’re enabling new makers — and makers of makers — everywhere to create spaces, find the tools they need, and create the programs for the spaces.  Our program has five elements:

Get access to an open and collaborative network of educators and members of the worldwide maker community, all doing this work too. Share insight, ideas, and best practices from one Makerspace to another. Connect on a local level with makers on the ground and community partners who support making.

Our flexible, modular projects introduce skills  and allow new makers to filter projects based on their own interests, ability, and available  equipment. These projects make it easy to get started and get better, and they’re backed up by all a facilitator needs to know to make the project work with a group.

Maker Media and the greater Maker community have already generated a large body of content to bring new makers up to speed on making. We provide better ways for learners to discover and access relevant content.

How do you run a class in making? Engage students in projects? Create the right learning environment? Mix disciplines? We nurture a vibrant community of practice among Maker-educators with online workshops & hangouts and in-person professional development. These introduce new ideas and projects and provide ongoing feedback and support.

Our pre-packaged kits reduce the barrier of creating a space. We’ve designed a basic “Makerspace in a Box” kit with the standard set of tools needed to complete skill-builder projects like simple chairs, soldering, soft circuitry, etc. Advanced kits would add 3D printers and other optional expansion modules.


A Summary of Effective Gender Equitable Teaching Practices in Informal STEM Education Spaces
Women and girls, particularly women and girls of color, remain underrepresented in STEM disciplines. This underrepresentation begins as early as late elementary school age. Educators, particularly those in informal STEM education, can help address gender inequity in STEM by understanding how research can be translated into actionable strategies. This article summarizes research on gender equitable practices for middle school girls in the last decade and addresses the disconnect between research and practice by presenting the findings in a way that educators can immediately act on.

STEM Ready America is a compendium from 40 authors presenting bold and persuasive evidence—as well as real-world examples of effective practices, programs, and partnerships—on how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) knowledge and skills are preparing young people to be successful in school today and the workforce tomorrow.

ESSA STEM One-pager
Learning in science, technology, engineering and math (the subjects collectively known as STEM) helps students succeed in school and prepares them for careers that are driving global economic growth. Nationwide, states and schools are engaging diverse partners like afterschool programs, libraries, museums, universities, and businesses to ensure that students have access to high-quality STEM education. Download PDF

Unconscios Bias in the Classroom: Evidence and Opportunities
In partnership with Stanford University and the American University, Google conducted this literature review to explore the theories and evidence of unconscious bias, as relevant to education, as well as interventions to mitigate its effects, particularly for underrepresented students. We found:

  • People consciously and unconsciously store experiences, and this process cannot be turned off and later influences automatic decision-making.
  • Exposure to unconscious bias can influence stereotyped groups to conform to stereotypes, even when the stereotype was initially untrue.
  • “Suppressing biases” is likely counterproductive; instead, interventions should encourage teachers to see students as individuals and build empathy and high expectations.
  • Teachers and classroom climate moderate the impact of unconscious bias, suggesting that teacher-facing interventions have potential to improve student outcomes.

Read Report


Here, advocates for high-quality after school learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) will discover the most effective ways to make the case for expanding and supporting afterschool STEM programs. Thanks to careful and extensive research performed by the FrameWorks Institute, a non-profit communications think tank, we have a solid understanding of average Americans’ perceptions about STEM learning and the out-of-school time environment, as well as reliable, tested ways of positioning afterschool STEM that can overcome any communication roadblocks.  Read More

STEM Connector
STEMconnector®, a Diversified Search company, is a consortium of companies, nonprofit associations and professional societies, STEM-related research & policy organizations, government entities, universities and academic institutions concerned with STEM education and the future of human capital in the United States. STEMconnector® is both a resource and a service, designed to link “all things STEM” through a comprehensive website that connects national, state and local STEM entities. The STEMconnector® website contains profiles of more than 20 categories of STEM-related entities and details ‘Who is Doing What’ on over 6000 STEM-related organizations all 50 states. Read More