Studies show that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs enrich learning. Youth can learn STEM skills through interactive, experiential learning.
Comments on this page? Curator: Extension Educator Rebecca Meyer
Youth Development Insight blog
Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!
Thinking of science as fun may bring youth to an activity, but they'll like it even more when they get to know more about the scientific process, challenges, and even the failures.
Effective science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education demands balancing fun, interest-building activities and attention to the authentic aptitudes and dispositions that prepare youth for professional careers. All too often we emphasize the fun-factor and minimize the notion that "science is hard." Read more.
Imagine an after-school program in which second graders learn about chemical change by making pancakes. Or a club in which kids in fourth through sixth grades build a Rube Goldberg machine for a county competition. Or a group of teens re-engineering an underwater robot.
How do you, as the adult guiding the learning experience, facilitate inquiry to best engage them and challenge deeper thinking?
Reports & journal articles
Guiding principles and design strategies for the University of Minnesota Extension's Driven to Discover: Enabling Authentic Inquiry through Citizen Science project demonstrate how education and investigations grounded in real-world citizen science projects can capitalize on REAL environments to generate meaningful STEM learning. 2014.
Science of Agriculture Response: Integrating Science and Engineering Concepts into 4-H Youth Development
This poster presents the science of agriculture response (SOAR) program which will use an experiential learning approach that employs the skills gained from a 4-H project and requires students to demonstrate the acquisition of those concepts via a visual presentation. 2014.
As 4-H Youth Development focuses on developing and delivering high quality STEM learning experiences, the issues related to the preparation of the adults who facilitate learning with youth are important to address. This paper outlines a five-state pilot project funded by the 3M Foundation to test a model for training adult facilitators. (PDF) 2012.
This paper offers compelling reasons to include afterschool programs as integral partners in STEM education and highlights several existing models for providing infrastructure and building capacity to enable afterschool programs to facilitate high-quality STEM learning. (PDF) 2010.
Power of the Wind Pilot Project: A six-state partnership to engage youth with wind energy
Appendices B - I
The process evaluation and related appendices from the Power of the Wind Pilot Project, a six state partnership to engage youth with wind energy. (PDF) 2010.
Examining 4-H Robotics in the Learning of Science, Engineering and Technology Topics and the Related Student Attitudes
This study measures the effectiveness of a 4-H robotics program to support the learning of specific STEM concepts and to examine related student attitudes to science. (PDF) 2008.
What we're reading
From journals and the popular media. Selected by Extension educator Rebecca Meyer
- Civic rhythms in an informal, media-rich learning program | Hollett, Ehret | Learning, Media and Technology
- Opportunity for All? Technology and Learning in Lower-Income Families | Rideout, Katz | Joan Ganz Cooney Center
- Citizen Science as a REAL Environment for Authentic Scientific Inquiry | Nathan Meyer, Siri Scott, Pamela Nippolt, et al |
- Learnings and Recommendations to Advance 4-H Science Readiness
- Agriscience | Lee & Turner (book)
- 4-H and Aquatic Robotics | McNeill, Jirik, Rugg | Journal of Extension
- 25 YEARS OF THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD A call for the enhanced engagement of children in the digital rights discourse | Urs Gasser
- Fostering Student Metacognition and Motivation in STEM through Citizen Science Programs | Metacognition: Fundaments, Applications and Trends
- Teaching Children Mathematics | National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- Turning 3-Year-Olds Into Scientists | The Atlantic
Our past presentations
This webinar explores the role of natural space and how to use it for effective positive youth development; it will include a focus on creating positive development experiences with nature during out of school time. 2012. Read more.
Digital Youth Network: Developing 21st century learners through the integration of overlapping affinity spaces
Through a mix of during school, afterschool, and online spaces, the Digital Youth Network provides youth opportunities to develop and apply new media literacy in ways that are personally and academically meaningful to them. 2011. Read more.
Youth have always been peer-oriented. Has online social networking changed anything for them? Greenhow presents emerging research on youth experiences in popular online social network sites and considers their implications for the field of youth development. 2009. Read more.
New technologies and media are playing an important role in the lives of young people and offering new ways for them to learn, engage, and contribute to their communities. This webinar explores the meaning of media literacy, highlights positive ways youth can and are using new technologies, and discusses the challenges and opportunities in doing so. Guests include Leo Burd, a researcher with MIT's Center for Future Civic Media and Karen Brennan also of MIT. The discussion is moderated by Dale A. Blyth from the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development. 2011. Read more.