Expanding Learning Time in After-School and Summer Enrichment Programs:  Science, Math, and Integrated STEM Activities for Middle and High School Students

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Spring 2011 saw large numbers of elementary teachers being laid off due to state and district budget cuts. In an effort to help experienced teachers gain skills and new certifications, a program was developed by California State University, Long Beach faculty to help laid-off elementary teachers earn a middle school mathematics or science teaching credential. Generously funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board, this project (Fall 2011–Summer 2012) provided content courses and a secondary mathematics or science methodology course for approximately 50 laid-off elementary teachers from the Long Beach Unified School District (Southern California).

As part of this program, teacher-participants developed and field-tested math, science, and integrated STEM lessons. While most of these lessons would work well in a traditional classroom setting, participants developed them for the after-school setting. Most of these lessons explore content relative to, and could be adapted for, multiple grades in middle school through high school. Post development, the activities were taught to middle school children in after-school settings in Norwalk-La Mirada, CA. After field-testing, the activities were further revised numerous times. In some cases, the lessons were implemented yet again. In the final step of the process, we (the three editors for this project) made further additions, edits and revisions to the activities. This compilation of STEM activities is the result of that effort.

Each activity has a 1-2 page cover sheet, which includes an overview of the activity, suggested grade ranges, approximate time to complete the activity, relevant mathematics and/or science standards, lesson objectives, a materials list, safety considerations (if any), and the list of contributing authors. In some cases multiple teacher-participants taught an early version of the lesson and provided lesson plans and field testing notes. For each activity, there is a detailed summary for implementation that includes assumed prior knowledge, relevant facilitator questions, and recommendations for how to assess understanding and scaffold students’ independent practice. Lessons also include suggestions for differentiation and/or extension activities. Where appropriate, we have added additional STEM connections so that you and your students are able to see how science, technology, engineering and mathematics intertwine. 

We hope that you find these lessons useful, engaging and thought provoking.

Drs. Babette Benken & Laura Henriques, Co-Editors & Directors of the FLM/FLGS Programs
California State University, Long Beach

Find out more about this program which helps prepare out-of-field teachers to teach middle school mathematics and science, including information about how to join the next cohort.

Table of Contents

1.     Use Your Shoe!     Mean, median, and mode

2.     Transformations and Illusions  Rotations, translations, and reflections of figures

3.     The Soundinator   Sound waves

4.     Drop of Doom!   Quantitative and graphical representations of functions, Velocity

5.     Reflections on Light   Properties and reflections of light, Geometric angle constructions

6.     How Much Water Fits on a Penny?   Properties of water,  Mean, median, and mode

7.     Snack Time!   Representing data in bar graphs, pie charts, and box and whisker plots

8.     Stretching It Hooke’s Law,   Linear relationships

9.     Run!  Distance versus time graphs, Rates of change and slope

10.  Peas in a Pod Collecting and analyzing data, Scatterplot graphs, Modeling with functions

11.  Happy Birthday to You!  Number patterns and number sense

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* Speical thanks Ms. Andrea Johnson, graduate student in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, CSU Long Beach, for her help with the book