Inspiring Underserved Youth: New Maker/STEM Education Support

The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science is pleased to join the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in announcing $1.9 million in new funding from the US Department of Education, expanding an initiative that introduces underserved youth to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and making-based activities. The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) leads this project through a cooperative agreement with IMLS. Frost Science served as a test site in the project pilot  in 2014 and participated in the 2017 implementation. We’re thrilled to be included in this new iteration of the project!

The project provides students in grades 3-6 with engaging activities to inspire an interest in STEM with the aim of improving retention in those disciplines. Frost Science is partnering this year with the 21st Century Community Schools afterschool programs at Citrus Grove Elementary School, Coral Way K-8, Downtown Miami Charter School and Orchard Villa Elementary School.  

This national project, now expanded both in scope and scale, will equip children’s museums and science centers with making activities, resources, tools and training, enabling them to train up to forty 21st Century Community Learning Centers across eight states, with the goal of reaching up to 1,000 students. A new survey, part of the third-party evaluation, will assess the outcomes of the project, including changes in interest, skills, and behaviors related to STEM and making among youth participants. 

“STEM-based learning is vital for young people to thrive in today’s world, no matter their interests, backgrounds, or the professions they may ultimately choose,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. ”By strengthening the inquiry skills that are inherently part of STEM learning, museums are uniquely positioned to spark curiosity among youth about the way their world works.” 

Six other children’s museums and science centers are partnering with NYSCI to deliver the program in the 2019-2020 school year: 

  • The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
  • Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, Arizona 
  • Science Works in Ashland, Oregon 
  • Betty Brynn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
  • Scott Family Amaze in Bentonville, Arkansas 
  • Children’s Museum of Houston, Texas 

“This multi-layered, cross-sector collaboration brings together the best possible resources from children’s museums, science centers, and afterschool providers,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of Museum Services. “By leveraging collective learning and making significant programmatic improvements, we are looking forward to impacting more than double the number of underserved students than before.”