Just a week after most Arizona schools closed for summer break, more than 350 dedicated educators from 13 of Arizona’s 15 counties traveled to Tempe to attend the 3rd Annual Arizona STEM Clubs Conference to learn how they could improve their students’ achievements and better prepare them for college and careers through establishment of STEM clubs at their schools.
Science Foundation Arizona and Arizona State University hosted the conference for teachers and administrators to learn how to establish STEM clubs, apply for seed funding for STEM clubs, and attend breakout sessions on topics such as project-based learning, increasing STEM interest among girls and minorities, and STEM and the arts. The Helios Education Foundation, State Farm Insurance, Wells Fargo, IDT and the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Foundation generously sponsored the event. Attendance at the annual Arizona STEM Club Conference has grown from 120 the first year to more than 350 this year.
An SFAz study has shown that students participating in these clubs had higher pass rates for the 2014 AIMS math and science tests in comparison to the state average in all grades. Interest and confidence in STEM studies were also found to be higher in students attending STEM clubs, as compared to their peers in control groups who did not participate.
“The STEM Club Conference provides an amazing array of resources for teachers to integrate STEM into both after school programs and the classroom. Teachers travel to this event from all over the state to gain practical knowledge, connect to business and industry, and apply for seed funding for clubs at their schools”, said SFAz Director of Education Linda Coyle. “This year’s event highlighted the connections being made between K-12 education, the community, and business and industry. It’s truly inspirational to see how committed the teachers are to helping students reach their highest potential while evolving their interest and motivation into STEM careers.”