Summer 2016
STEM Active Learning Newsletter

In this edition, you will find upcoming professional development workshop dates, an opportunity to participate as a pilot site for an exciting engineering curriculum, and the latest research in afterschool STEM! Lastly, you will find resources that support STEM educators and provide the tools to keep kids learning even when they are out of school.

We are happy to have you as partners and hope to continue working with you to increase the number of opportunities for Iowa youth and families to engage in STEM activities outside of the traditional school day.


More information can be found on our wiki page, and please don't hesitate to contact us with questions or feedback at any time! 


Thanks for reading!


Gracie Brandsgard

Iowa SySTEM Building Initiative

Iowa Afterschool Alliance


You are receiving this Newsletter because you have been associated with one of the STEM Active Learning events in the past. If you have a colleague who would like to receive this news, please have them join here.   



STEM Active Learning Professional Development Workshop Series

The STEM Active Learning Community Partners Working Group of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council is hosting a series of professional development workshops for informal educators.

During these active, hands-on workshops attendees will have a chance to transform a STEM lesson with the Harvard-based "Dimensions of Success" Program Planning

At the end of the workshop, you'll leave with:
  • a high-quality STEM activity to use at your own program or organization
  • an understanding of the DoS Planning Guide that measures STEM quality in active learning (out-of-school time) settings
  • a free, online resource as additional professional development
  • increased confidence in facilitating STEM activities!
Participants will receive a $50.00 stipend for attending the workshop and submitting a revised STEM lesson plan after the workshop.

Register on The Iowa Children's Museum website, here. All workshops are 10am to 2pm.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Buena Vista University
Storm Lake
Monday, September 19, 2016
University of Iowa
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Hawkeye Community College
Monday, September 26, 2016
ISU Extension 4H Youth Building

Looking for Pilot Sites!
Applications are due September 9.

Engineering is Elementary has designed a new, innovative out-of-school-time curriculum for 6th-8th graders called Engineering Everywhere. 

EIE is looking for afterschool programs to serve as pilot sites for their curriculum. You'll receive materials, educator guides, ongoing PD, and stipends for your participation.

Click here to apply as a pilot site. 

Upcoming Webinars

Developing High-Quality STEM Experiences at Every Age
September 1, 1pm CST
Presented by: Afterschool Alliance
Lights On Afterschool: Planning and Messaging for STEM Events
September 6, Noon CST
Presented by: Afterschool Alliance

Level the Field in Computer Science with Girls Who Code
September 20, 1pm CST
Presented by: Afterschool Alliance

Dimensions of Success Observer

STEM Program Observers Needed! 

Would you like to become an out-of-school time STEM program observer? 
Upcoming Observer Training Dates:
  • September 21- 22, 9 am- 3 pm 
  • October 13-14, 9 am - 3 pm 
  • November 29-30, 9 am- 3 pm
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance is using the Dimensions of Success (DoS) Evaluation tool, which pinpoints twelve indicators of STEM program quality out-of-school time, to measure the quality of OST STEM programs across the state. The DoS Tool was developed and studied, with funding from the National Science Foundation, by the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency at Harvard University. 

We are currently seeking individuals in different areas of the state who are interested in observing afterschool programs using the DoS Tool. Thanks to our funding from STEM Next, this training is provided at no charge to you!

If you are interested in becoming a DoS observer, please contact Gracie Brandsgard at the IAA at 

Reports and Research

Iowa STEM Evaluation, Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council
Each year the three state university evaluation centers conduct an independent assessment of Iowa STEM. The three-part assessment captures the STEM Council priorities of raising interest, raising awareness and raising achievement in STEM.

Click here to read the full report.

Every Hours Counts - Ten-Year Convening Report
Ten years ago the national coalition, Every Hour Counts, was formed. This report provides an overview of major developments in the expanded-learning field in the last ten years, and sets forth a vision for the future. The report describes the pressing social issues that impact student learning, including poverty and inequity, and examine the ways in which expanded learning can help remove some of the associated barriers.

Click here to download the report.

Teen STEM Survey, Amgen Foundation and Change the Equation
A new survey of American teenagers from the Amgen Foundation and Change the Equation finds that teens like science and would welcome the opportunity to do more engaging, hands-on science in school.  Yet the survey also reveals that teens lack access to real-world science experiences, out-of-school opportunities, and professional mentors, which is limiting their chances to pursue science any further. 

Read the full survey results here.

STEM Save the Dates

September 14, 2016 
STEM Festival, Iowa State University, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., Ames, IA
Email for more information.

September 21-22:
DoS Observer Training, online webinar
If interested in becoming an observer, please contact Gracie Brandsgard at

September 24, 2016
Iowa Girls Code Fall Kickoff at Iowa State University and University of Iowa
Find out more here:

October 13-14, 2016
DoS Observer Training, online webinar
If interested in becoming an observer, please contact Gracie Brandsgard at

October 20, 2016
STEM Festival, Oelwein Community Center, 3:30 - 7:00 p.m., Oelwein, IA
Email for more information.

November 29-30, 2016
DoS Observer Training, online webinar
If interested in becoming an observer, please contact Gracie Brandsgard at
For general questions, please contact:
Gracie Brandsgard
SySTEM Building Initiative Lead
Iowa Afterschool Alliance
2910 Westown Pkwy, Suite 302
West Des Moines, IA 50266