Hero Elementary Playlist Pilot Study in After-school Programs
Schools that serve a majority of economically disadvantaged students often struggle with limited budgets to find the resources and educators for their science classrooms. Across the United States, issues of access and equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education – tied intrinsically to fiscal resources – have led to the emergence of after-school programs rooted in youth development.
As an informal learning setting, after-school programs are increasingly viewed as both complementary and supplementary to school learning and have the potential to affect students’ in-school science achievement and interest in pursuing science careers.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) Ready to Learn project, Hero Elementary, has an emphasis on reaching Latino communities and supporting the needs of children with disabilities. The project embeds the expectations of kindergarten to 2nd-grade science standards into a series of activities, including interactive games, educational apps, non-fiction e-books, hands-on activities, and a digital science notebook. The activities are organized into different playlists for educators and students to use in after-school programs, and each playlist centers on a meaningful conceptual theme in K–2 science learning.
In the spring of 2019, WestEd conducted a pilot study using five playlists to understand the feasibility of implementing the playlists in after-school programs and to discuss the potential impact of the playlists on student science learning. This report describes the study and its findings.
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