Developing a practical activity

The Inspiring Young People in STEM program, starting with this course, aims to help you run effective practical activities as a volunteer.

Why practical activities?

Practical activities provide rich opportunities for you to inspire young people in interactive and engaging ways. They allow young people to get hands-on with STEM, but they are also the type of activity that you might feel you need more help with putting together. That’s ok, and it’s why we have developed this program of courses for you!

Practical activities include: experiments, demonstrations or hands-on activities. They have the potential to interest and engage diverse audiences of young people and help them relate STEM subjects to their own experiences.

Practical activities may take place in school or out of school in community organisations, for example Guides or Scouts, or at museums. They could be one off activities or take place over a longer period of time, as in a STEM Club. Evidence shows there is higher impact upon young people the more they engage with STEM Ambassadors, so having a series of activities could have a more positive effect on the young people you volunteer with.

Developing an activity to inspire young people

Each of the four courses in this program relate to the four steps of developing an activity: resourcing, planning, delivering and reviewing.

The resources you will look at in the first week of this course act as the starting point for deciding what practical activity you could do.

Program Map: Resources - this course - start thinking about your activity, find a resource (there are plenty available), adapt if necessary. Plan. Deliver. Review.

This course helps you discover the range of resources and activities that are available to volunteers in STEM. You will then go onto developing a more detailed activity plan in the next course, looking at links to academic curricula and frameworks. With resources and a plan, you will be in a position to deliver your activity, whilst also considering how best to communicate with young people. Finally, drawing upon the feedback you receive from young people and the educator, you’ll make changes to improve the activity and your involvement as a volunteer.

We suggest that you take the first two courses whilst planning your volunteering with a school or community group. After you have arranged your volunteering session, take part in the third and fourth courses on how to deliver practical activities and using feedback to improve.

Throughout this process you will need to respond to the needs and context of the young people you work with. We’ll start to look at this later this week and particularly around inclusivity in Week 2 of this course.

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This article is from the free online course:

Inspiring Young People In STEM: Resources and Diversity

National STEM Learning Centre