For my senior capstone I created an after school club that introduced students from various areas of the city to different topics pertaining to STEM. The purpose of this club was to expose students to the opportunities that the field of STEM has to offer and to introduce more female students to the field as a whole. I had initially begun my capstone by speaking with school officials from my middle school to confirm that I would be able to use it as the site for my club. While our first meeting had gone successfully, the school’s lack of keeping up with communication and inability to confirm a club dates after our first meeting caused me to go back to square one.
When coming up with possible solutions that would fix the challenges I faced, I determined that it would be in my best interest to turn the club into something that was portable and relevant to a wide range of ages. This would allow me to be able to broaden the spectrum of people that I taught and it ensured that I would not have to rely on one specific group of people. Ultimately, this process taught me that every challenge, no matter how hard it may seem, has a feasible solution. It just takes some time and well thought out brainstorming to come up with the right idea.When reflecting on what I was able to accomplish, I was able to have thorough club meetings with students ranging from the grades of 1st to 12th grade, and I completed various activities with them that were inspired by activities I come across during my time as a student at SLA.
“10 Simple STEM Activities for Kids That Will Stimulate Young Minds.” Rasmussen College - Regionally Accredited College Online and on Campus. www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/simple-stem-activities-for-kids/.
This website from Rasmussen College lists 10 STEM related activities that are meant to stimulate the minds of adolescents. I will use this list to choose and find the activities that I want the students to complete during my club. Using this list ensures that all of the activities are STEM-related and relevant to the topic I choose to teach the students every week. Overall, this source is relevant to my project because it allows me to plan out my club beforehand while also providing me with a list of materials that I need to fundraise for and obtain beforehand.
“36 Resources for STEM Project-Based Learning Activities.” Global Digital Citizen Foundation, Global Digital Citizen Foundation, 20 July 2018,
I will use this website from the Global Digital Citizen Foundation in conjunction with the list of activities that I obtained from my Rasmussen College source. I am utilizing both sources because I want to have a wide variety of activities to choose from and present to the students since I plan for them to be involved in the activity selection process. The activities in this source specifically are split up by categories such as engineering, mathematics, and general STEM. Each category has a variety of activities (that are split up by specific age groups) listed under them so that will be a useful element to use when catering activities to specific grades. Overall, this source will be used to help craft the lesson plans and activities necessary for my club/capstone.
Dispatch. “Is STEM Education Beneficial in the Elementary Classroom?” Center for Health Identity Behavior and Prevention Studies CHIBPS, 14 May 2018, https://wp.nyu.edu/dispatch/2018/01/30/is-stem-education-beneficial-in-the-elementary-classroom/
This website from the Center for Health Identity Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) at New York University (NYU) debates whether or not STEM education is beneficial for students in elementary school. In their article on the topic, they begin by giving an overview of STEM, what it is, and it’s importance in society. They then explain their reasonings for why they think teaching STEM is extremely important in elementary schools, and they end their article by speaking about the need for gender diversity in the field. I will use this source to corroborate my justification behind my capstone impact.
“How to Write a Lesson Plan.” Homeschooling vs Public Schools: The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling, www.middleschool.net/write-lesson-plan.htm.
This website from Middleschool.net provides a detailed outline of how teachers should go about creating their lesson plans. On the site, it lists ten detailed steps to follow when creating a lesson plan, and it has a condensed list of other resources to use as a reference listed at the bottom of the page. I will utilize this source religiously when creating my lesson plans because it proves useful and beneficial advice. It will make this process much easier when it comes to creating my content. Overall, this source will be used to create the lesson plans for each week of my club.
“Importance of STEM Education in Elementary School | College of Education - FSU.” FSU College of Education, 10 Jan. 2019, https://education.fsu.edu/importance-stem-education-elementary-school
This website from the Florida State University College of Education provides their reasonings as to why they stress the importance of STEM education in elementary schools. In this source, they address how America has fallen behind other industrialized countries in terms of STEM-related fields and they make the case that a STEM-focused education not only opens students to new subjects but it also allows for different learning methodologies to be utilized. I will use this source to prove the benefit and long-lasting impact of my capstone. The skills the students will learn in the club are skills that will stick with them forever.
O'Malley, Oscar, et al. “The Benefits of STEM in Elementary.” STEAM Powered Family, 8 Oct. 2018, www.steampoweredfamily.com/education/stem-in-elementary/.
This website from is one out of three sources that I have relating to the impact/importance of my project. In this source, they explain that learning should be both influential and engaging. Saying that “If an education destroys a student’s love of learning, then it has failed.” This quote truly resonated with me because it couldn't be more true. Students should love what and how they’re learning. They should feel that it’s been catered to them with the intention of meeting their best interest. That’s the intention of my club, thus explaining why I am choosing to integrate this source into my capstone.
“Science Leadership Academy: What Will You Create Today?” NGLC, www.nextgenlearning.org/articles/science-leadership-academy-what-will-you-create-today.
This article from the Next Gen Learning Center is a deep dive into SLA and the uniqueness of our curriculum. It analyzes our core values, capstone projects, and ILPs while explaining the importance that they all have to our students and the school community as a whole. I will use this source to compare how the set up of our curriculum is emulated in the set up for my club in addition to using it as a resource for my students to become familiar with before the club begins. I want them to have adequate context on who I am (this will be a self-summary) and where I’m coming from (based on the article). This article will help me provide them with that information.
“Setting up Your Club.” Keys Steps for Setting up Your out of School Club | Out of School Alliance, www.outofschoolalliance.co.uk/setting-up-your-club.
This website from the Out of School Alliance provides a list of tips and tricks to use when creating an after-school club. It goes over the keys aspects necessary to have a productive and efficient club. Examples of these aspects are business structure, paperwork, and establishing the need. This source is essential when it comes to structuring my club because it will help me stay organized while also giving me experience in the field of business (which is what I will be majoring in in college). I will use it in conjunction with my source about writing lesson plans. Overall, this is source will help me with the managerial and teacher like aspects of my Capstone.
“Start Your Child's Academic Adventure.” Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools History Comments, www.aopcatholicschools.org/elementary-schools/curriculum/.
This website for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia lists all of the mandatory courses to be taught in Catholic Schools for every subject. The curriculum for each subject is divided into folders that are then split up into grades (such as Kindergarten and 8th Grade). I will use this source to analyze the curriculum that middle schoolers (5th-8th) are required to take, and I will then use it as the base for my capstone. I intend to build off of what the students already know while also teaching them new content, so the purpose of this source will be to make sure that I’m meeting those standards.
“Visitation BVM School.” Icon of Visitation Church, www.vizobvm.org/.
This website for the Visitation BVM School provides background information on and important notes about the school where I will be completing my Senior Capstone. My purpose for using this source is to compare the schools objective and educational priorities to that of my STEM club since I intend to combine the two equally. In addition to the comparison, this source will also give me a better look at the demographics of my club in terms of racial and gender diversity. This will be a critical piece in graphing and creating infographics for my club. Overall, I will use all of this information in conjunction with my source that pertains to the mandatory curriculum that is taught in all Archdiocesan schools in Philadelphia.