Beyond the school day: Identifying key elements of effective out-of-school time STEM instruction

Christopher Smith, Fordham University


Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education has emerged as a national priority, and engaging students in STEM activities has become a key area of focus for educators. The After-School Corporation is a non-profit intermediary organization that developed a training initiative designed to increase stakeholders' interest in STEM learning activities in the after-school hours, prepare and motivate an after-school workforce to implement STEM activities, and increase students' interest in STEM learning through project-based learning. The current project used qualitative methods to explore the structures and supports that facilitate the successful delivery of STEM content in after-school settings. Interviews with leaders from ten after-school programs that participated in this training initiative and were successful with their STEM instruction were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. A model was developed that explains the key processes that helped these programs. Results indicate that goal setting and relationship-building between after-school and day school leaders were simultaneous first steps that programs used to develop a plan for STEM implementation. These processes influenced the instruction of STEM by after-school youth workers, which was supported by mentorship from the program leader, and the use of co-inquiry as an instructional technique. This instruction led to student engagement, which was facilitated by the use of hands-on, project-based activities, and influenced by parent involvement and receiving feedback from key stakeholders. Student engagement impacted the programs' future goal setting processes. The emergent model can help after-school programs enhance student engagement in these fields, and impact future STEM training models.

Subject Area

Mathematics education|Educational psychology|Developmental psychology|Science education

Recommended Citation

Smith, Christopher, "Beyond the school day: Identifying key elements of effective out-of-school time STEM instruction" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3715400.