More than 371,000—or 40%—of Colorado Public School children live in poverty. These children will have had 6,000 fewer hours of learning by the time they reach 6th grade than their peers – the equivalent of nearly 6 years of public education. This learning gap is reflected in early childhood achievement gaps that also fall squarely along socioeconomic lines. Additionally, students – particularly girls – begin to decide by 3rd grade whether they are capable or incapable in STEM, while elementary school teachers have the greatest need for support and resources in STEM.
We provide new in-class and extracurricular learning opportunities to disadvantaged elementary school students all around STEM. We equip girls and students of color from low-income communities with leadership and STEM skills needed to tap into the strong economic opportunities all around them.
- TEACH: We empower elementary school teachers to teach their students the skills they need to be scientists and engineers through our donated In-class STEM Project Kits. These kits include the teacher lesson plans, student lessons, plus all of the materials students need to complete the lessons. The lessons are designed around using mind maps as tools that students can then use to develop authentic STEM Generation Fair projects. The kits are a supplemental STEM curriculum that aligns with the new Colorado Academic Standards in Science.
- IMPLEMENT: We lay the foundation for a 21st Century version of a Science & Engineering Fair – a STEM Generation Fair – that fosters authentic, student-led projects. We create all communication pieces and support for students, parents and teachers for their fair. Then we offer diverse STEM professionals the opportunity to engage with students during their fair to assess students’ skills. On the flip side, students identify with professionals so they know, “Hey, I can be a scientist or engineer like her/him.”
- Teachers spend more time teaching the process for doing science or engineering, as opposed to just content, and teachers are equipped to effectively support students on their authentic STEM projects.
- Students develop leadership and STEM skills that they need to know, “Hey, I can do STEM!” and so they can tap into the strong economic opportunities all around them.
- Schools engage the nearby business community and potentially create other engagement opportunities and sustained support.
- STEM professionals become aware of the needs of low-resource schools and the socioeconomic gaps in opportunity that students face.
- The CO STEM industry has a local, diverse and larger talent pool to pull from, leading to a more innovative workforce.
 Students who qualify for Free and Reduce Lunch FRL program. For example, a CO child from a family of 3 with an annual combined income of less than $27,729 qualifies for free meals. Colorado Department of Education. 2019.
 The 6,000-hour Learning Gap. 4,385 of the learning gap occurs in [elementary] school through paid for after-school enrichment, extracurricular educational opportunities and summer camps. A compilation of research. 2013. https://www.expandedschools.org/policy-documents/6000-hour-learning-gap
 There is a 42% Achievement Gap between students who qualify for FRL and their more affluent peers in basic 3rd & 4th grade math and reading proficiency in Denver. NAEP 2019. 4th Grade Math/Reading Scores by Geography