Professional Development

NAA publishes fresh, new content every week covering a wide variety of topics related to the field of aftershool. In addition, NAA offers a variety of opportunities for virtual professional development (PD) through meaningful content, conversations and connections. Click here to see full descriptions of virtual PD offerings.

Top STEM Web Resources

In a Web search for the word STEM, Google returns more than 200 million results. STEM today is a hot topic and Web pages are being created at a frenetic pace, which can be quite overwhelming for users. Websites may have outdated information, be difficult to navigate and, occasionally, even provide bad information. Your time is precious, so to help you navigate the World Wide Web of STEM information I am providing my current pick of some of the best STEM resources available today.

STEM Education
Research based information on why STEM is so important for our young people and the future of our nation.

From the Afterschool Alliance:
America After 3, Full STEM Ahead 
Examining the impact of afterschool STEM programs 

From the White House:
Educate to Innovate 

From the U.S. Department of Education:
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: Education for Global Leadership 

STEM Standards
Some of the best scientists and educators in the country have provided STEM education guidelines to successfully take young people from elementary school to college. Currently, 40 states have shown commitment to these STEM standards and 16 states have adopted them for their schools.

Next Generation Science Standards 

STEM Activities

A great number of STEM activities exist on the World Wide Web. The sites listed below contain some of the best.

Sally Ride Science @ UC San Diego 
Extreme Science 
Kids. Gov 
National Science Teachers Association Learning Center 

Evil Mad Scientist 
Science Buddies 

Harcourt School Publishers Think Math! 
Math Counts Fun Math for Kids 

eGFI Dream Up the Future 
Engineer is Elementary 
Teach Engineering 
Engineer Girl


STEM Implementation Best Practices

For STEM to effectively prepare our young people for the 21st century, we must provide more than thematic, hands-on activities. It is important to implement STEM in a way that encourages active student-centric inquiry and develops critical thinking skills. The sites below provide tips and ideas on how to effectively teach STEM topics.

Middle Web All About the Middle Grades 
Understanding Science
National Afterschool Association Professional Development 

Adding Art to STEM to Make STEAM

Education works best when connections can be made to existing information. As STEM becomes a mainstay in our young people's education, it is increasingly important to integrate its content across other disciplines. To encourage innovation, try integrating art and design within the traditional themes of STEM. A fresh perspective can be energizing for both you and your young people.


I'm also looking forward to the on-going development of STEMNext, a national leader in increasing STEM learning.

Contributed by Andy the Science Wiz, NAA STEM Specialist Andy Allan