The Mississippi Statewide Afterschool Network works to better our state and its communities by connecting providers, parents and policymakers with proven tools and resources to increase the quality of and access to out-of-school time programming for K-12 children and youth.


Afterschool is a lifeline that keeps youth safe, helps kids learn and grow, and provides parents the ability to work without worry. 

Mississippi has hundreds of afterschool and summer learning programs across the state for children and families. Use this map to find a program in your area.

Mississippi has hundreds of afterschool and summer learning programs across the state for children and families. Use this map to find a program in your area.

May Million Girls Moonshot Opportunities

May 3, 2024 | Million Girls Moonshot

Table of Contents

1. Trainings

2. Transformative Practices

3. Activities




ACRES Coaching: Asking Purposeful Questions 

Wednesdays: 5/8, 5/22, 6/5/2024 2:00 – 4:00 pm EST / 11:00 – 1:00 pm PST

Questions begin a path toward discovery, imagination, and STEM exploration. How can we help youth expand and clarify their thinking and develop their reasoning through the questions we ask them? This module is a great way to train staff on how to facilitate STEM learning. Experienced educators also love being part of a cohort as a way to connect with other educators across the country, to learn new lesson plans, and to reflect on practice.  This is our introductory module and a prerequisite to other opportunities. 

*The expectation is that you will be live at all three sessions and an active member of this coaching cohort. Recordings are not available if you are unable to attend.

Use Code: AC362PQ  (Coach Hannah L)

Register Here



ACRES Coaching: Nurturing STEM Identity and Making Career Connections 

Mondays: 5/6, 5/20, 6/3/2024 6:00 – 8:00 pm EST / 3:00 – 5:00 pm PST

How do you help youth recognize their connection to and role in STEM? How do you help youth learn about STEM careers? Participants experience several easy-to-implement strategies, including a photo elicitation activity that can help youth form STEM identities, and then learn how to conduct related activities with youth.

*The expectation is that you will be live at all three sessions and an active member of this coaching cohort. Recordings are not available if you are unable to attend.

Use Code: AC331ID (Coach Emma C)

Register Here


Info Session about Micro-credentials and Digital Badging

Wednesday, May 8th 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST / 10:00 – 11:00 am PST

ACRES (Afterschool Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM) is excited to offer additional Information Sessions about STEM micro-credentials, which are competency-based, digital badges for afterschool and out-of-school professionals offered through the National Afterschool Association. These sessions are free, live, interactive, and one hour in length.  You will learn about what Micro-credentials are and how to apply for them. PLEASE FILL OUT THIS FORM, choose the date that works best for you, and we’ll reach out to you with the Zoom link. FMI contact (Note: It isn’t necessary to attend more than one informational session as the content is consistent.)



Including All Learners in Engineering

May 8, 1:00 – 1:45 PM ET

In a highly competitive world, how do we lead program activities in a way that helps young people feel like engineering is a discipline in which they can succeed and thrive? Join this virtual 45-minute mini-workshop to learn about and develop strategies for creating engineering experiences that are inclusive for all youth. What makes an engineering activity open and inclusive? Come away with ideas you can put into practice.

Register Here



Teens Lead in Computer Science

June 4, 11:00 – 12:30 pm CT

Teens can develop a wide variety of interests and skills, including leadership by working or volunteering in out-of-school time computer science programs. Learn more about how teen leaders use their skills to lead computer science experiences and build meaningful relationships and help young people see themselves as computer scientists. Teen leaders are essential components of many 4-H programs across the US. Join this virtual workshop to learn more about how the 4-H experiential learning model helps young people grow and develop through these experiences.  This approach develops leadership and prepares young people to be the leaders, innovators and problem-solvers of our future.

Register Here




Discover Engineering’s “Chats with Change Makers” with Fredy Barrera Aguilar, Product Development Engineer at TE Connectivity

May 30, 1:00PM ET

Discover Engineering’s “Chats with Change Makers” invites students to meet engineering role models who are working hard to change the world. Join DiscoverE on Thursday, May 30 at 1pm ET to meet Fredy Barrera Aguilar, Product Development Engineer at TE Connectivity! Your students will hear his stories, ask questions, and learn more about his engineering career. Your host is Kavya, a high school senior and SWENext participant.

Learn More


2. Transformative Practices

Equity and Inclusion

  • Access to STEM Framework: To improve the overall quality of out-of-school STEM programs, we need to address how program providers design and implement programming to increase access in STEM for youth who have been underrepresented in the STEM fields. Partnering with the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) and national experts, we have developed an Access to STEM Framework — a guide for supporting program providers in this transformation. Download the Framework.
  • A Summary of Effective Gender Equitable Teaching Practices in Informal STEM Education Spaces: This article summarizes research on gender equitable practices for middle school girls in the last decade and addresses the disconnect between research and practice. The article focuses on ways to connect STEM experiences to girls’ lives, emphasizing the ways that STEM is collaborative and community-oriented, and providing opportunities for girls to interact with and learn from diverse role models.
  • Beyond Equity as Inclusion: Framework of “Rightful Presence” for Guiding Justice-Oriented Studies in Teaching and Learning: This article presents a framework to guide the study of teaching and learning in justice-oriented ways. This framework highlights the limitations of equity as inclusion, which does not adequately address the ways in which systemic injustices manifest in local classroom practice. Three tenets for guiding the use of this framework in teaching and learning are offered.

Engineering Mindsets

  • Engineering Mindset Overview: An engineering mindset refers to the attitudes and thinking skills associated with engineering — using a systematic engineering design process, considering real-world problems, applying math and science, and working in teams. The Moonshot focuses on 10 engineering practices. An overview of each practice follows and subsequent briefs will explore each one individually.
  • New Girls STEAM Ahead with NASA (GSAWN) Resources: The Girls STEAM Ahead with NASA program, part of NASA’s Universe of Learning, provides resources and experiences that enable girls, families, and lifelong learners to explore fundamental questions in astrophysics and discover the universe for themselves. New resources include the GSAWN Program Cookbook, stages of a star’s Life Flipbook, a Stellar Life Cycle Bookmark and Bracelet, and Stellar Evolution Scavenger Hunt. 


Role Models, Mentors, and Families

Role models, mentors, and family engagement in a young person’s STEM education leads to increased interest, greater self-confidence, and ultimately a stronger STEM identity. Developing a science-related identity increases the likelihood that students will work toward developing science literacy, or even pursue a career in a science or STEM-related field.

Continuous STEM Learning Pathways

Research also tells us that continuous engagement and exposure rather than limited one-time opportunities are needed to nurture the interest and motivation necessary for children to pursue STEM pathways long term. The Moonshot aims to understand and support transitions and handoffs that remove barriers for youth by connecting STEM learning across ages and settings, ensuring youth interest and motivation persists, especially for underrepresented groups like girls, youth of color, and youth from low-income families.

  • Possible Futures — Career Exploration Curriculum: Open source curriculum that complements and enriches both school and afterschool settings 1) expanding career awareness through authentic experiential learning opportunities; 2) encouraging students to explore their diverse interests, talents, and options; 3) enlivening STEM subjects by bringing in real-world and career contexts; 4) empowering students to develop vital employability skills; and 5) engaging students in making informed choices.

Below are some adaptations of the Possible Futures Career Exploration Curriculum specifically for afterschool and summer programs:

  • Career Literacy: Three units that combine the units Skills for Success and Lenses on the Future (from Possible Futures Career Exploration Curriculum). The units also provide a model for aligning Possible Futures with state Career Literacy Standards and the development of required individual student postsecondary plans. 
  • Growing Myself: Twelve lessons that combine the Self unit from Lenses on the Future and the Growth Mindset unit from Skills for Success from the Possible Futures Career Exploration Curriculum. 




Activity (engineering)How Does a Wind Meter Work? | Science Project ( On a windy day it is hard to keep your hat on! The power of the wind can even be strong enough to power large wind turbines to make electricity! In this experiment, find out how you can make your own instrument to measure the speed and power of the wind. How does it work?

Activity (engineering)Tallest Paper Tower Challenge | Science Project ( In this engineering challenge, you will use limited materials to build a paper tower as tall as possible, but there’s a twist! Your tower must also support a heavy weight at the top without collapsing. Looking for inspiration? You can see how other students have tackled this and other annual Science Buddies Engineering Challenges.

Activity (engineering): How to Build a Toilet Paper Roll Balloon Car – Left Brain Craft Brain This project is a perfect opportunity to learn about simple machines: the building blocks of all things that move. The activity uses easy to find materials and can be done in class and easily repeated at home. 

Activity(engineering): Turn Milk into Plastic | STEM Activity ( Until about 1945, milk was commonly used to make many different plastic ornaments, including buttons, decorative buckles, beads and other jewelry, and many other items. Milk plastic (usually called casein plastic) was even used to make jewelry for Queen Mary of England! In this activity students will make their own casein plastic out of hot milk and vinegar.

Activity (math): Devising an Algorithm for Solving Rubik’s Cube | Science Project ( This activity shows youth three sets of move sequences that accomplish specific rearrangements of the cube. Is there a way to solve the cube using only these three move sequences?

Activity (Computer science): Can Humans Recognize ChatGPT’s AI-Generated Text? | Science Project ( AI (artificial intelligence)-generated text is a hot topic for many reasons. Computers can now generate convincing paragraphs or even pages of text that look like they were written by a human. How do you know if a news article you are reading was written by a human or an AI? How does a teacher know if a student’s essay was written by an AI? How do you know this text was not written by an AI? In this science project, you will conduct an experiment to see if volunteers can correctly identify whether different passages of text were written by a human or AI.