Connecting to Prior Knowledge & Experiences

Frontline staff and volunteers will be able to effectively connect STEM activities to the knowledge and experiences (culture, gender, socioeconomic status, language, daily experiences, etc.) of the youth in their program.


Reflecting on Your Own Skills

Participants will watch the What Do You Know About Circuits Video-Based Learning Module to learn to connect youths’ experiences to STEM pathways and careers.

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There’s Always Room for Improvement

Participants will watch the Linking My Experiences to Societal Needs Video-Based Learning Module and complete the Bridges worksheet to better connect everyday experiences to STEM.

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3 Ways to Use Prior Knowledge

Interest survey, self-documentation, brainstrom or chalk talk are techniques that can help youth make connections to their prior knowledge and experiences.

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Why is Prior Knowledge so Important?

Helping youth engage in their life experiences is a powerful motivator for learning, and it can be a springboard for their interests too!

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Plastics Density

Learn about recycling and investigate the different properties of plastics, how numbers on plastic are related to their properties and how they are recycled.

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Dough Circuits

You can use anything that conducts electricity to make an electrical circuit— even play dough! 

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Design A Roller Coaster

Use your engineering skills to design and create a “loop-de-loop“ roller coaster that will take a marble for a ride.

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Presenting A Challenge

Watch as staff engages youth in an engineering design challenge to build their own roller coaster. Notice how staff connect the challenge to youth’s feelings and experiences with roller coasters.

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Ideas for Connecting to Prior Knowledge

See how connecting to prior knowledge enhances STEM learning experiences. We highlighted effective strategies for helping learners understand how STEM relates to their life. Participants are able to apply these strategies by evaluating an afterschool circuits activity and planning connections that deepen the learning.

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