The 21st Century Afterschool Science Project

The 21st Century Afterschool Science Project is now available to download!

The 21st Century Afterschool Science Project is a collaborative effort between the New Jersey Department of Education, Liberty Science Center and the New Jersey School-Age Care Coalition. This cooperative alliance uses the resources, technology, health and science of New Jersey to develop and integrate quality science and health education programs into afterschool programs.
This afterschool science model, guide and curriculum was developed by the 21st Century Afterschool Science Project (21st CASP) partnership to enrich student learning through inquiry-based, interactive science experiences. The project was funded in its entirety with federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by No Child Left Behind, Title IV, Part B, 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant funds through a cooperative grant agreement with the New Jersey Department of Education.

In response to increased receptivity to science programming in afterschool settings, and recognizing the potential of OST programs to enrich student learning through inquiry-based, interactive science experiences; the 21st CASP partners developed, prototyped, implemented and evaluated a model for integrating science into afterschool settings from October 2005 through September 2007. The 21st CASP goes beyond simply providing services; this collaborative effort has produced a replicable model that will engage adults and children in the joy of exploration and discovery, the satisfaction of thinking critically about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’, and the freedom to pursue the questions about the natural world that intrigue and delight us.

The 21st CASP focuses on collaborative efforts designed to integrate science into afterschool programs. The project connects New Jersey’s afterschool community to the unique educational experiences provided by Liberty Science Center — exhibits, trained staff, and informal inquiry-based learning and teaching approaches; the extensive network, training and technical assistance provided by the NJ School-Age Care Coalition; and the educational resources and authority of the NJ Department of Education to affect educational policy.

The project emphasizes and pursues the connections between the essential components of scientific inquiry and the skills of language and mathematical literacy through a multifaceted model. The focus is on children in grades 4 – 8 and afterschool staff -– including professional educators, youth workers and paraprofessionals.

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