Watch the activity overview video

This video shows staff facilitating the activity featured in the skill video.

Building Activity Overview

This is a video of a real afterschool program. These videos serve as discussion starters around a particular skill and are not examples of perfect practice.

As you watch the skill video below, think about these questions:

How does Jimmy keep the focus question at the forefront of the activity?

What other process questions does he use to reinforce what youth learned?


Watch the skill video


Using A Focus Question

This is a video of a real afterschool program. These videos serve as discussion starters around a particular skill and are not examples of perfect practice.

Now that you've watched the video, reflect on what you saw and post your responses.

When leading a STEM learning experience, how do you emphasize your learning goals with youth?
Erin Wilcox's picture
Make sure that the goals are clearly discussed with the youth and displayed so that the children are able to see it and remember their goal. Also, make sure that the children fully understand the activity and defining the overall task in terms that are developmentally appropriate. 
Zsanett Szi-Miklos's picture
Using some key words and focus-questions very often. For example Jimmy said the word "recycle" many times, and asked questions about the results ("Is it only gonna make out of recycles? We re-use pre-exsisted materials...What do we do if our building will not meet with the requirement? what do we do next?)
He also makes children to repeat the 3 design requirements of the building.

How do you ensure youth stay focused on the question they are answering or the problem they are solving?
Erin Wilcox's picture
Asking them questions about the problem they are solving can guide their focus as well as maybe give them new ideas to consider. 
Zsanett Szi-Miklos's picture
The teacher asks the good questions, for example, what was the challenges during the activity, how could you make sure the building will stay together, what is the one thing you would change now if you could re-build the construction? These questions help direct the youth toward a goal while sparking the curiosity about the activity.
At the end of the overview video, you hear youth say "We won!" How do you manage STEM activities to ensure youth do not always view it as a competition?
Erin Wilcox's picture
One way to avoid the competition aspect is working in smaller groups, one group at a time, having all the children participating in working on the same project so that there is not anyone to compete against. Another way is to not strict of guidelines with the project, allowing for creativity and a variety of possible outcomes that allow for different children to succeed in different ways. 
Zsanett Szi-Miklos's picture
"Child development experts point out that a little healthy competition can be good for kids. Competitive activities help them develop important skills they'll use well into adulthood, like taking turns, developing empathy, and tenacity. Competition helps kids learn that it is not always the best or the brightest who are successful, but rather those that work hard and stick with it."
I think the most important is - even they take it as a competition (but I do not want the activity competitive) - make sure every child experiencing success instead of failure, or change the activity from competing against the other kids to competing against their own self (their previous work, their previous achievement).