Best Practices and tools for Networks, Partners, and Programs to create professional development for programs.
Video: What is Engineering? - This video highlights real engineers, the work that they do, and what it takes to be an engineer.
Video: What is Engineering Mindset? - A recorded webinar providing an overview of the engineering mindset.
Video: Engineering Practices Part 1 - A recorded webinar with a deep dive into each engineering mindset practice.
Video: Engineering Practices Part 2 - A recorded webinar with a deep dive into each engineering mindset practice.
Video: Engineering Practices Part 3 - A recorded webinar with a deep dive into each engineering mindset practice.
Webpage: What is Engineering? - This webpage describes what engineering is and provides an overview of some important habits of minds of engineers.
Article: What STEM Mindset Is … and Why Everyone Should Have One - This article describes how 21st century skills, growth mindset, and habits of mind all contribute to a STEM mindset.
Blog: Teacher Responses that Foster a STEM Mindset - This blog highlights the important role that teachers play in developing an engineering mindset in their students. How teachers respond to student questions can impact the way the students value themselves as learners.
Engineering Mindset 1: Using a Systematic Problem-Solving Process
Webpage: What is Engineering Design - This website shares basic information about the engineering design process: it is made up of a series of steps, its goal is to solve problems, and anyone can use it.
Article: Engineering Encounters: How to Develop an Engineering Design Task - This article from Science and Children provides background information on engineering design and provides step-by-step advice on how teachers can develop high quality engineering challenges for their students.
Posters: The Engineering Design Process - These posters include the seven steps of the engineering process on a chalkboard background. Each poster describes the step in kid friendly language.
Engineering Mindset 2: Exploring the Properties and Uses of Materials
Webpage: Materials - This short webpage provides a brief and clear explanation of the importance of knowledge of material properties in engineering.
Blog: Investigating Materials Properties is an Engineering Habit of Mind - This blog describes and showcases video examples of students exploring properties of materials. By investigating materials, students make more informed decisions in their engineering design.
Video: Primary Science Lesson Idea: Properties of Materials - This video from Twig Education provides a quick review of materials properties such as hard, flexible, transparent, waterproof, and absorbent. The information is presented in the context of why certain materials are used to make everyday objects.
Posters: Properties of Materials - These posters are a visual aid for children as they learn about the different properties of materials. Along with common properties, this set also includes definitions and pictures of properties like dull, squishy, bumpy, and brittle.
Engineering Mindset 3: Considering Real-World Problems
Article: The Search for Real-World STEM Problems - This article describes the importance of providing real-world STEM challenges to students and explains that through real-world problems, students develop empathy. It outlines criteria for selecting authentic problems and provides tips for how to engage students in the process of developing their own challenges.
Article: STEM Projects That Tackle Real-World Problems - This article describes how the solving of authentic engineering challenges helps students see the genuine impact of their learning. The article also gives examples of nine real-world problems, such as cleaning up an oil spill or improving the lives of people with disabilities, that have been been shown to engage and challenge students from elementary through high school.
Article: Engineers: problem-Solving in Society - This article by Dena McMartin describes how she, as a young woman, chose to study environmental engineering based on her interests in biology and her desire to make a difference in people's lives and the natural environment.
Engineering Mindset 4: Criteria and Constraints
Article: Students Should Generate Criteria and Constraints - This article describes how students should generate criteria and constraints for engineering design problems - not just be provided with them - because it allows for a more equitable and student driven experience.
Article: Examining Young Students’ Problem Scoping in Engineering Design - This article describes how elementary school students define and express the criteria and constraints of engineering problems (problem-scoping). The authors show how children are able to think in complex ways to balance and consider multiple considerations when designing.
Video: Meet the Criteria - This classroom video shows students working through a design challenge and balancing trade offs around what materials would be best given their criteria and constraints. They discover that some of the materials that would "work best" may be too costly.
Engineering Mindset 5: Science and Math
Brief: How can students' everyday experiences support science learning through engineering design? - This brief describes how science learning can emerge through the engineering design process without direct instruction teams.
Blog and Video Clips: Math Lessons Go Better With Engineering - This blog describes how math is an integral part of engineering. An engineering parachutes design challenge offers examples of how students practice math as they measure various aspects of their design and calculate their final evaluation scores.
Video: STEM Integration in K-12 Education - This 3.5 minute video explores the value of teaching the four STEM subjects in an integrated way. All four of these disciplines are closely intertwined in the real world, and when students are taught in ways that highlight these connections, their education becomes more relevant and opens the doors to future careers.
Engineering Mindset 6: Multiple Solutions
Blog: Cultivate Creativity in Your STEM Classroom - This blog gives an overview of the many ways you can create a learning environment that fosters creativity. When students begin to understand that there is no right answer to a design challenge, that multiple solutions are encouraged, they are given a freedom of thought and agency over their learning.
Blog: Embracing Multiple Solutions is an Engineering Habit of Mind - This blog explains how the ability to generate multiple solutions to a problem is a skill that can help students succeed in every academic field, not just science and engineering. The ability to think flexibly and consider multiple solutions is a valuable, if not essential skill.
Video: Priceless! - This video highlights one teacher's reflection on how rewarding it was to see all of her students come up with different solutions to the engineering problem.
Engineering Mindset 7: Evaluating and Iterating Designs
Article: The Most Overlooked Step of the Engineering Design Process - In this article, an experienced STEM teacher shares her ideas about why the “Improve Step” of the Engineering Design Process is so important. She provides examples from her students who are designing ramps for model cars.
Brief: How to Integrate the Argumentation from Evidence Practice into Engineering Design - This brief shares the importance of supporting students as they collect and use data to help them decide what improvements to make as they redesign and iterate throughout the engineering design process.
Video: What's one thing you might want to change? - In this video, a fourth grade teacher guides her students by asking them to name one thing they could improve about their own parachute designs.
Engineering Mindset 8: Persisting Through and Learning From Failure
Article: Scaffolding for Failure Helping Students Navigate Engineering Design Failure - In this article, the authors offer suggestions about preparing students for design failure and helping them respond to it when it occurs. Before starting engineering, they suggest having explicit discussions with students about fail words and their meanings.
Brief: Failing Forward: Managing Student Frustration During Engineering Design Projects - In this brief, the authors acknowledge that engineering design failures can lead to significant student frustration and discouragement. They provide advice to help educators manage and redirect students' frustration, so that students can "fail forward" and learn from their mistakes.
Blog: The Importance of Failure - This blog presents a list of ways you can teach kids the importance of and even how to celebrate the opportunity to learn from failure in engineering design.
Engineering Mindset 9: Working Effectively in Teams
Article: Boost Learning by Combining Teamwork and STEM - This article discusses the importance of helping young people develop teamwork skills in afterschool settings, and the unique contribution that STEM activities can make. From engineering challenges to group investigations, many hands-on STEM investigations are ready-made team activities, and can help foster an atmosphere of collaboration.
Article: Building Teamwork in STEM Classes - This article by Ann Jolly offers solid advice for teachers on how to increase the quality and effectiveness of collaborative group work. From setting clear goals and procedures to monitoring teamwork regularly, these tips will help teachers support students as they work together in teams and build their 21st Century skills.
Blog: Do my student engineers have to work in teams? - This blog highlights the importance of student collaboration while recognizing some of the difficulties young children might have working together. The blog outlines four simple tips to help incorporate collaboration in your engineering space.
Engineering Mindset 10: Identifying as Engineers
Online Educator Course: Click2Science - This self-directed online course provides examples and practical tips about developing STEM identity in youth. Through a series of videos and activities, participants learn about the importance of self-identity and how they can provide experiences that build confidence in science and engineering. Professional development hours are available upon completion.
Blog: The Importance of Developing a STEM Identity - This blog reports on research from CAISE outlining the advantages of developing a STEM identity in youth. Developing a science-related identity increases engagement and also increases the likelihood that students pursue a career in a science or STEM-related field.
Assessment: Engineering Identity Development Scale (EIDS) - The Engineering Identity Development Scale (EIDS) is a 20-item assessment that can be used to assess students’ interest and attitudes about engineering. Have students take this survey before and after engineering activities to see if their confidence and STEM self-identity grows.
Equity and Inclusion
Toolkit: Broadening Perspectives on Broadening Participation in STEM - This Toolkit was produced by CAISE, the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education, and provides strategies and tools for trainers and educators who are looking for ways to strengthen efforts to broaden participation.
Book: SciGirls Strategies: How to Engage Girls in STEM - These strategies create a more gender equitable and culturally responsive learning environment that inspires, engages, and helps girls thrive in engineering and STEM more broadly. This book outlines the educational approach, rooted in what research has revealed engages girls in STEM. These strategies have also been proven to work with all learners.
Toolkit: STEM Teaching Tools - The STEM Teaching Tools site has tools to help providers teach STEM. Each tool is focused on a specific issue and leverages the best knowledge from research and practice. Under the News section, you can learn a bit more about how you might use them. Review more resources in the Tools area and check out the online short courses.
Toolkit: Access Computing Online Learning Strategies for Students with Disabilities - Students with disabilities may want to adopt specific strategies for learning as they transition to online courses. Many students with disabilities have shared their experiences and recommendations for online learning; the DO-IT Center has compiled the advice into easy digestible resources including technological resources.
Article: Building Culturally Competent Organizations - Learn how you can build a culturally competent organization. A resource developed by the University of Kansas.
Article: Are you culturally competent? Responding to Kids' Diverse Backgrounds and Experiences - Find out what it means to be culturally competent in afterschool and learn specific strategies you can apply in your setting.
Article: Do I belong? Gender, Peer Groups, and STEM Achievement - This paper reviews how peer groups can hinder or help girls’ and women’s sense of belongingness in STEM.
Article: Tackling Implicit Bias - Description of implicit bias, its impact and how to challenge it.
Personal Reflection: Test Yourself for Hidden Bias - Information about stereotypes and prejudices and the impact they have on students. It includes a link to "Project Implicit", a test to identify your implicit biases.
Podcast: Seeing White - A 14-episode series about race from Duke University for anyone invested in increasing STEM equity.
Research: Focusing on Cultural Competency in STEM Education - White paper that provides an overview of cultural competency in STEM education. It describes: a) stages and steps of cultural competency, b) culturally responsive teaching practices, and c) strategies for developing a culturally responsive out-of-school STEM program.
Toolkit: A Guide to Equity and Antiracism for Educators - A toolkit with links to additional resources related to current events and a guide for educators on how to fight racism in their communities.
Video: Gloria Ladson-Billings Reframes the Racial Achievement Gap - G. Ladson-Billings gave a talk at the 2007 Urban Sites Network Conference in Washington D.C. where she discusses the term "racial achievement gap" as a construct that considers students as defective and lacking. Instead, she says to approach the achievement gap with a "debt-mindset" instead of a "deficit-mindset" that emphasizes that the achievement gap is complex and systemic.
Videos: Culturally Responsive: Educator Mindset and Action - Short videos of educators that describe what it means to have a culturally responsive mindset with examples of specific culturally responsive practices in action.
Broadening Participation - Recruitment and Retention of Staff
Article: Planning Considerations for Afterschool Professional Development - A short article by Daniele Bradshaw (2015) that describes guidelines for effective professional development for afterschool staff.
Article: Beyond the Webinar: Dynamic Online STEM Professional Development - An article by Brasili and Allen (2019) on strategies for engineering online professional development for staff.
Broadening Participation - Youth Voice
Book: Youth Development in Out-of-School Time Setting (2018) - Comprehensive book on youth development in out-of-school time settings. It includes a chapter on 10 principles of effective youth development.
Paper: Why Now? Why Us?: Inclusive 21st Century Learning - Paper from the National Center for Learning Disabilities identifying key strategies, case studies and actions for impact.
Developing and Expanding Partnerships
Rubric: Are We A Partnership Yet? - This rubric allows partners to assess the maturity of a partnership and provides some direction for growth.
Diverse Role Models and Mentors
Podcast: STEM Role Models - In this podcast, educators, CEOs, and students discuss why STEM role models from all walks of life are essential for young peoples’ persistence and success in STEM.
Webpage: Role Models Matter and Mentoring Works! - The National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity believes that one of the most effective ways to encourage students to consider nontraditional careers is to introduce them to diverse role models. This webpage serves as a resource for educators seeking STEM role models and mentors for their students.
Videos: Role Model Profiles Video Archives SciGirls CONNECT - Incorporating videos from diverse STEM role models into your afterschool program is a quick way to expose students to role models. Pair your engineering activity with a video from Rachel Gitajn, a bicycle engineer, or Tejal Desai, a biomedical engineer, so students can begin making connections between afterschool, the real world, and career.
Posters: STEM Role Models Posters — In 8 Additional Languages - Download inspirational, diverse STEM Role Models posters for your school or afterschool program — now in 8 additional languages including Chinese, Spanish, and French.
Stories: She Can STEM. So Can You. - Meet the women and girls of STEM. They build robots, find new sources of energy, study animals, play with slime, and invent apps. They help make the world a better (and cooler) place to be. Each story will give a sneak peek into how these women got their start in STEM and help your students begin their journey too!
Website: The Afterschool STEM Hub - Includes communication tools related to making the case for STEM afterschool and equity and inclusion.
Website/Toolkit: IF/THEN Collection - A digital asset library (photos, videos, posters, activities, and more!) of women STEM innovators, for educational use.
Toolkit: Creating Connections with Role Models: The Power of Collaboration - This guide is designed to help recruit and prepare role models to inspire girls in science, technology, and engineering. Techbridge Girls outlines our “recipe for success” for role models and provides tips for training. While this guide has been designed with input from partners in the National Girls Collaborative Project, we encourage you to tailor our suggestions to meet the needs of your role models and the interests of your girls.
Article: Incorporating the Stories of Women, People of Color, and LGBTQ+ Scientists Into the Physics Classroom - Short article from NSTA about the contributions of women, people of color, and other diverse scientists to the field of Physics. Includes a link to lesson plans that could be adapted for grades 9-12.
Article: Becoming Visible: STEM Role Models & Mentors for Disabled Students - An interesting post about the importance of having STEM role models for disabled students.
Role Model Profile: STEM is for Everyone! - Profile of scientists with disabilities.
Podcast: Modern Figures Podcast - Highlights black women in computing.
Video: Role Models Matter - webinar recording of Techbridge Girls Inc. training for STEM volunteers.