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STEM Workshops

Vermont Afterschool has developed an extensive list of STEM (subjects known as science, technology, engineering, and math) trainings to support staff in delivering quality STEM programs. Each STEM Training has been purposefully placed into one of three STEM Levels. These STEM Levels include trainings that cover both content and facilitation skills.

This handy, downloadable one-page flyer sorts our STEM professional development trainings according to each of the three STEM Levels.

Below you will find the complete list of our STEM trainings sorted according to each of the STEM levels: exploratory, foundational, and improvement. All trainings are two hours unless noted otherwise!



STEM: Ask, Imagine, and Create Afterschool
Science is everywhere and the application of science through Technology, Engineering and Math are key ingredients for helping children become more scientifically literate. The afterschool environment is an excellent setting for exploring STEM ideas because it is free of curriculum requirements, assessments and other classroom constraints. Explore kid- magnetizing topics, techniques for applying math, the basics of technology, and the simplicity of the engineering design process. Sample activities, program mapping, and tools to help you better plan for a STEM experience.

STEM: Cooking Up Science With or Without a Kitchen
This workshop is not about baking brownies from a box. Try experiments that use everyday kitchen materials, and then apply big ideas in science to cooking activities. Take the “Sink a Marshmallow Challenge” and create art with color chromatography. Engage in the inquiry process to discover why stuff fizzes, bread rises and chocolate syrup won’t freeze.

STEM: Project Learning Tree for Afterschool
Project Learning Tree’s curriculum resources are designed to help educators teach complex environmental issues. They can be integrated into lesson plans for all grades and subject areas to help students learn how to make sound choices about the environment. The goal is to teach students how to think, not what to think about the environment. Studies show that curricula with an outdoor learning component drastically improve student achievement, particularly in science and math, including test scores. All Project Learning Tree workshop participants will receive a guide with almost 100 activities you can use with children outdoors immediately.

STEM: Science on a Shoestring
Whenever we explore science phenomenon with kids, it is helpful to look for concepts or “big ideas” that span across the disciplines of physical, life and earth science. In this way, kids begin to see the way science fits together and how investigations can be linked together. Afterschool staff will be exposed to the seven “cross cutting concepts” identified in the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by Vermont Agency of Education in 2013. Each concept will be illustrated through participation in a simple, low-cost investigation appropriate for afterschool settings.

STEM: Tinkering 101 Learning by Making!
Tinkering is a mindset for learning that engages people’s creative spirit and their understanding of science phenomena. Tinkering or “making” is about using familiar objects in unfamiliar ways to make something of meaning to the tinkerer. Afterschool settings are the perfect setting for making! Explore tinkering materials, facilitation, theory and assessment by trying projects firsthand and discussing tinkering’s emergence as a legitimate STEM learning experience that fuses art and engineering. Applicable to grades K-8.

The VerMONEY afterschool and summer financial literacy curriculum is an effort to demystify the concepts of money, money management and the idea of earning money as an entrepreneur.  The afterschool environment, as well as vacation weeks and summer learning programs will find that VerMONEY is engaging, interactive, flexible and allows for youth voice as they build toward the culminating activity of running their own small business. By gaining skills and confidence in financial management, kids will practice math computation, creativity, group process and the satisfaction of being personally responsible for their own money choices.  VerMONEY can also be self-sustaining if the small business becomes a regular feature of an afterschool program.



STEM: Breakthroughs and Blunders
Creating a STEM culture that values “failure” takes time and persistence! No one wants to experience speedbumps in planning or implantation of a STEM experience. Learn how to anticipate potential “stress points” and turn them into “teachable moments” through tools, facilitation techniques, and documenting kids who are moving from blunder to breakthrough!

STEM: Engineering Adventures – Getting Started
As part of STEM professional development, this workshop asks participants to engage in Engineering Adventures curriculum both as learners and as educators. Participants will engage in activities directly from the Engineering Adventures afterschool program founded by the Museum of Science, Boston. Also included are activities designed specifically to help afterschool staff learn ways to support youth as they engineer. Upon completion, participants will have a better understanding of both technology and engineering and the best ways to engage youth in the engineering design process.

STEM: Engineering Adventures – Unit Options
Engineering Adventures is a series of engineering units specifically designed for afterschool and summer learning within STEM by the Museum of Science, Boston. Each unit is flexible in duration and delivery segments, but all units identify a specific engineering problem within one area of engineering practice (civil, environmental, materials, mechanical, etc.) while introducing the engineering design process. All units conclude with youth engineering their own design solution through a culminating “creative showcase” of their learning. For youth in grades 3-5.

  • Hop to It: Safe Removal of Invasive Species
  • Shake Things Up: Engineering Earthquake Resistant Buildings
  • To the Rescue: Engineering Aid Drop Packages
  • Bubble Bonanza: Engineering Bubble Wands
  • Lift Off: Engineering Rockets and Rovers
  • Go Green: Engineering Recycled Racers
  • Music to My Ears: Engineering Acoustic Devices
  • The Sky’s the Limit: Engineering Flying Technologies

STEM: Inquiry 101
Inquiry activities are most comfortable when you have a framework. Inquiry Science 101 introduces you to three frameworks that help organize an inquiry activity, while giving you the opportunity to experience several informal learning activities from the point of view of a student. We end with a discussion of designing and using purposeful questions that make activities truly inquiry.

STEM: STEMify Your Existing Program
Looking to increase STEM offerings in your afterschool program but not sure how to get started? This workshop will show you how you can tweak existing program offerings so that they include STEM content and practices.

STEM: Winter Science Patterns, Structure, and Function
This workshop will introduce participants to the winter environment in Vermont using both indoor and outdoor activities. Experiential, hands-on activities will focus on two big ideas from NGSS: Patterns and Structure & Function. Both physical science and life science will be emphasized. Participants will leave with a flexible, 6-week lesson plan for children in grades K-2 and a resource list for supporting publications and websites. Led by Jenna Guarino, Vermont SWEEP.



STEM: Coaching for Quality STEM Programs
Looking to improve STEM programming at your site? In this two-hour training session we will explore what STEM is (and isn’t) and share national afterschool STEM planning and coaching tools to support your staff as they improve STEM experiences for youth while building your confidence as a STEM instructor.

STEM: Environmental Literacy in Action!
Environmental Literacy is much more than knowing every tree or bird out in the woods! It’s about establishing a sense of place, building knowledge about the connections between humans and the natural world, and the confidence to explore environmental topics in a patch of trees, by the pond or right in the gym or school yard. This training is designed to give staff the understanding and skills needed to lead your own, partner with an expert, or embed an existing statewide environmental program. Build confidence leading groups informed by the “big ideas” linking us to nature. Experience tried and true, hands-on activities, tuned to the constraints and opportunities of afterschool programs even in winter. Walk away with the resources to identify local partners to assist you in developing quality environmental literacy experiences to your program. This training is in partnership with SWEEP (Statewide Environmental Education Programs), a network of environmental educators across Vermont.
NOTE: This is a 4-hour training.

STEM: Solar FUNdamentals
Let’s get our students excited about solar energy. Our energy future depends on it! Using NGSS as a framework, the Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) has designed two introductory units on wind and solar for kindergarten through third grades that incorporate engineering principals in fun, hands-on lessons. This workshop will focus on being an “engineer”: how to facilitate students’ experience as they build, share, and redesign models while building an understanding of the sun as source of energy.

STEM: STEM Misconceptions What DO Kids Know?
This workshop is not about paper/pencil surveys! Involving kids in thinking and sharing what they already know increases their engagement in your afterschool STEM activity. This workshop will enable you to modify your instruction to improve their learning experience through active assessment techniques that uncover misconceptions, gaps in understanding, and make your STEM experience relevant.

STEM: Tinkering for ALL Educators
This training is designed for ALL educators interested in experiencing several tinkering activities first hand while digging deeper into the fundamentals of tinkering – materials, environment and facilitation. Through discussion, video and resources the goal is to support classroom teachers, afterschool providers, youth librarians and others eager to design quality tinkering experiences while working within budget, space and time constraints of their learning environments. Put on your student hat AND your educator hat and get busy tinkering. Led by Vermont Afterschool and Montshire Museum.
NOTE: This workshop is 4.5 hours and has a prerequisite of Tinkering 101 or previous tinkering experience.

STEM: Wind FUNdamentals
Let’s get our students excited about wind energy. Our energy future depends on it! Using NGSS as a framework, the Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) has designed two introductory units on wind and solar for kindergarten through third grades that incorporate engineering principals in fun, hands-on lessons. This workshop will focus on being an “engineer”: how to facilitate students’ experience as they build, share, and redesign models while building an understanding of the sun as source of energy.

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