Mission:  We level the tech & engineering playing field.

Goal:  Narrow the gap in early childhood learning opportunities that fall squarely along socioeconomic lines.

Problem

More than 371,000[1]—or 40%—of Colorado Public School children live in poverty (qualify for the National Lunch Program). These children will have had 6,000[2] fewer hours of learning by the time they reach 6th grade than their peers – the equivalent of nearly 5.5 years of public education. This learning gap is reflected in early childhood achievement gaps that also fall squarely along socioeconomic lines[3]. 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.

Approach

We create fun, hands-on, in-class and extracurricular STEM learning opportunities for students from high-needs elementary and middle schools. 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.

Programs

  • STEM 3-Project Series Package: We empower elementary school teachers to teach their students the skills they need to be scientists and engineers. We donate our STEM 3-Project Series curriculum package (Professional Development, Project Kits and Assessments) with both English/Spanish and Remote/In-person options. Our innovative curriculum builds students’ independence leading their own projects based on things in their everyday lives. The project curriculum supplement and align with the new Colorado Academic Standards in Science, taking a 3D NGSS.
  • STEM Share Fair: Celebrating student-led STEM: We engage diverse STEM professionals with students to assess students’ skills and serve as role models. Through their interaction with diverse STEM role models, students identify “Hey, I can be a scientist or engineer like her/him.”
  • Diverse STEM Stories: Choosing a STEM path: We engage diverse STEM professionals with students to share their journey to leadership in their STEM careers.

Impact

  • 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 high-resource schools and the socioeconomic gaps in opportunity that students face.
  • The STEM business sector has a local, diverse and larger talent pool to pull from, leading to a more innovative workforce.

Our Story

Read the Birth of STEM Generation or multi-task or take a break to hear our story. Podcast interview by Matt Sodnicar: Apple URL | Spotify URL

[1] 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.

[2] 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

[3] 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

Download Science Fair Fun’s FY 2019-2020 Year-End Report

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Download Science Fair Fun’s FY 2018-2019 Year-End Report

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