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Professional Development


Youth Development

Tools of the Trade I: Giving Kids a Lifetime Guarantee: 4-H Afterschool Training Guide – 1 to 15 hours (delivered in parts or in its entirety)
Tools of the Trade is a staff-development module to deliver a comprehensive 15-hour training for afterschool program frontline staff and youth workers. Using a hands-on, interactive skill-building approach, it provides tools drawn from best practices to help afterschool staff enhance communication, management and educational delivery of afterschool programs. Each session outline provides the trainer with complete instructions, readily available supplies and session evaluations. The content is designed for new and experienced afterschool program frontline staff. The majority of the training is geared for youth workers who work with children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

  • Session 1: The Power of Youth Workers – 2.0 hours
  • Session 2: Brushing Up on Yourself: What Does Your Personality Offer Afterschool Programs? – 2.0 hours
  • Session 3: Blueprints for Positive Youth Development – 2.0 hours
  • Session 4: Bits and Bolts of Afterschool Program Management – 2.0 hours
  • Session 5: Nailing It! Age-appropriate Practices – 1.5 hours
  • Session 6: On the Level … Positive Guidance and Discipline – 1.5 hours
  • Session 7: Constructing Strong Relationships … Parents as Partners – 1.0 hour
  • Session 8: Building Leadership and Life Skills … Teens as Teachers – 1.5 hours
  • Session 9: A Finished Product … It’s Just the Beginning! – 1.5 hours 

Youth-Adult Partnerships – 1.5 hours
Youth-adult partnership is the authentic and meaningful engagement of young people in programs where youth have or share voice, influence, and decision-making authority. Youth-adult partnership embraces the unique and powerful contributions that young people can make to their organizations and communities—right now—not only at some point in the future when they have become “adults.”


Gathering Evidence for Youth Learning and Development: Supporting Rigorous Data Collection – 1 hour
Providing evidence for youth outcomes is becoming even more important due to accountability demands of administrators and funders. While front-line staff are not typically responsible for conducting evaluations, they may help support data collection by administering surveys, completing rubrics, or documenting observations. This session will introduce important aspects in being accurate, efficient, and consistent in collecting data for evaluation. 

Pedagogy / Teaching Methods

Leading Effective Projects: Planning for Mastery – 1.5 hours
There is something for every youth to spark, deepen, and sustain their interest and learning. Educators help support youth in developing mastery – comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject. Planning for mastery takes preparation, organization, and intentional design. In this session, participants will learn the ins and outs of preparing for mastery, including designing a learning progression, identifying sequential hands-on activities, and organizing them to move members from beginners to experts. 

Promoting Experiential (Hands-on, Minds-on) Learning – 1.5 to 3 hours
Experiential learning provides opportunities for participants to construct meaning through engaging experiences. (1) Experience: An activity to engage learners in an investigation, observation, experiment, or scenario. (2) Reflection: Seamless movement through three distinct phases where by the facilitator guides the learners to share thoughts and feelings with others in order to process and generalize their experience. (3) Application: An opportunities for learners to apply new knowledge to authentic situations in order to help deepen and extend their understanding.

Promoting Inquiry-based Learning – 1.5 to 6 hours (delivered in parts or in its entirety)
In a learning environment that promotes inquiry-based learning, youth build understanding through active exploration and questioning. The key to inquiry is that youth seek answers to questions rather than being given answers, which requires those who lead activities to facilitate the learning process and not simply disseminate knowledge. Facilitating an open discussion is crucial in promoting inquiry.

  • Session 1: Comparing Approaches to Teaching – 1.5 to 3 hours
  • Session 2: Focusing on process skills – 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Session 2: Questioning Strategies – 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Session 3: Assessing Learning – 1.5 hours

Strategies for Learning Design: Planning Activities Using Backwards Design – 1.5 hours
To help realize learning and development, we should start with the goal in mind and work backwards towards the activity. In this session, participants will learn about the Backwards Design model, and apply it to their learning environments.

Collaboration Station – 1.5 hours
Cooperative learning is increasingly used in classrooms and afterschool settings. Participating in a cooperative/collaborative learning experience take some practice and skill for the participants. Students need varying levels of guidance, direction, and support to successfully participate in a cooperative learning experience and be full contributors. Program leaders help youth develop these skills by providing a structure for the collaborative work to take place through thoughtful group formation and role definition that supports the learning activity.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (Facilitation)

Tools of the Trade II: Inspiring Young Minds to be STEM Ready for Life! 4-H Afterschool Training Guide – 1 to 20 hours (delivered in parts or in its entirety)

Tools of the Trade II is a staff-development guide which includes over 20 hours of comprehensive training for afterschool program frontline staff and youth workers on incorporating science, engineering, and technology (SET) into afterschool programming. Using a hands-on, interactive skill-building approach, it provides tools drawn from research and best practices to help afterschool staff enhance communication, management, and educational delivery of afterschool programs. The content is designed for new and experienced afterschool program frontline staff who are interested in integrating more science, engineering, and technology into their programs. The majority of the training is geared for youth workers who work with children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

  • Session 1: Inspiring Young Minds...The Scientist in All of Us - 1.5 hours
  • Session 2: Explore It! (Science) Design It! (Engineering) Use It! (Technology)- 2 hours
  • Session 3: SET Abilities for the 21st Century- 1.5 hours
  • Session 4: Hands On! Minds On!...Inquiry and Experiential Learning - 1.5 hours
  • Session 5: How Kids Learn Science and What It Means to Afterschool - 1.5 hours
  • Session 6: Kid Fit Science...Ages and Stages and SET - 1.5 hours
  • Session 7: Creating SET-Rich Environments- 1.5 hours
  • Session 8: Under the Microscope...How to Identify and Adapt SET Curriculum for Afterschool - 1.5 hours
  • Session 9: SET Everyday...Using Centers in Afterschool - 1.5 Hours
  • Session 10: Science and Literacy...Using Fiction and Non-Fiction Science Text in Afterschool - 1.5 Hours
  • Session 11: Teens in Afterschool...What’s the SET Connection? - 1.5 hours
  • Session 12: Building the Bridge...Using Collaboration and Partnerships to Strengthen Your SET Programming - 1 hour
  • Session 13: Family Science...It’s Not How I Learned Science! - 1.5 hours
  • Session 14: Ready SET Go! SET in Afterschool - 2 hours 

Introduction to Informal Science Education – 2-3 hours
This introductory session will help participants increase their awareness of informal science education, experiential and inquiry learning, and Next Generation Science Standards. The second part is assisting educators to identify and adapt science activities, deliver lessons, and improve their facilitation skills. 

What Makes a STEM Activity a STEM Learning Experience? – 1.5 hours
Harness the power of fun and effective STEM education in your programs to spark, deepen, and sustain young people’s interest in STEM. This (hands-on) workshop will introduce you to the elements of high quality STEM education including utilizing inquiry-based pedagogy and asking broad and open questions. Objectives: Introduce participants to elements of high quality STEM education; Increase awareness of the importance of asking open-ended questions.

STEM Education: Bring Exploration and Design to your Programs – 1.5 hours
Children are natural scientists and engineers! Harness their curiosity and inquisitive spirit by engaging them in exploration and design (aka STEM activities) in your afterschool program. This session will help participants explore methods to integrate science inquiry and engineering design into their programs. Learn how to select curricula, and implement using best practices, so that youth learn science content, reasoning skills, improve their interest and attitudes towards science, and are able to contribute to their communities.

Engineering Education Workshop for Educators – 1.5-2 hours
Children love to design, build, and make new things! Harness young people’s motivation for engineering. This educator workshop will prepare you to facilitate engineering activities through open-ended creative play, tinkering, and making supported by three curricula; TechXcite, Design It!, and Junk Drawer Robotics.\ 

Subject Matter / Curriculum

Junk Drawer Robotics (6-8th grade)
Youth engage in engineering design, tinkering, and making through design challenges using common household items. Level 1: Give Robots a Hand; Level 2: Robots on the Move; Level 3: Mechatronics. https://4-h.org/parents/curriculum/robotics/ 

iGrow (4-6th grade) or iThrive (7-10th grade): STEM and Personal Development
iGrow and iThrive is a youth leadership development curriculum where young people are given opportunities to develop their spark, growth mindset, goal management skills and 6 Cs. 

There’s No New Water! (8-10th grade)
There’s No New Water! is grounded in a simple yet powerful concept that water is a finite natural resource whose quantity and quality must be responsibly preserved, protected, used, and reused. The There’s No New Water! is designed for high school age youth, beginning with an exploration of the natural water cycle; exploring human interventions that affect water quality and quantity. https://4-h.org/parents/curriculum/water-conservation/

Design It! (engineering) (5-8th grade)
A series of engineering design experiences providing an experiential foundation for engineering concepts. Modules include: Balls and Tracks, Pinball, Trebuchets, Gliders, Paper Bridges, Rubber Band-Powered Cars, Balloon Powered-Cars, Cardboard Constructions, Cranes, Blinking Lights, String Telephones, Straw Rockets, Spinning Toys, Sand and Water Clocks. http://npass2.edc.org/resources/design-it

Explore It! (science) (5-8th grade)
A series of exploratory science experiences providing an experiential foundation for science concepts associated with basic phenomena and helping to develop essential skills for inquiry. Modules include: Balancing Toys, Balloons, Bubbles, Cake Chemistry, Colliding Balls, Exploring Food, Heating a House and an Oven, Measuring Ourselves, Permanent Magnets and Electromagnets, Sinking and Floating, Siphon Systems, Soda Science, and Wiring a House. http://npass2.edc.org/curriculum/explore-it

Youth Experiences in Science (K-3rd grades)
Provides high-quality children’s science education projects for after-school settings. These easily adaptable activities make science fun and exciting. Each activity guide includes the time required for the activity, suggested grouping of participants, materials needed, preparation information, activity directions, and discussion directions. An Activity Booklet, designed for parents and children to use at home to continue the science fun, follows each guide. http://4h.ucanr.edu/Resources/Curriculum/FREE/4-H_Youth_Experiences_in_Science_2000/

TechXcite Engineering (6-8th grades)
TechXcite is an after-school engineering curriculum developed jointly by 4-H and Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering. The TechXcite curriculum offers a rich and vibrant exploration of engineering, mathematics, science and technology. Modules include: Bionic Arm, Bioimaging, Green Building, Solar Oven, Wireless Burglar Alarm, Your TV Remote, Quest for Speed, and Solar Car. http://techxcite.pratt.duke.edu/

Veterinary Science (3-6th grades)
The Youth Development through Veterinary Science Series is a Youth Development curriculum that introduces youth to many aspects of veterinary science through experiential and inquiry-based learning. http://4h.ucanr.edu/Resources/Curriculum/FREE/

Rabbits (6-8th grades)
Wild rabbits are found on every continent except Antarctica. Domesticated rabbits come in many breeds that vary in shape, size, and color. But what does it mean to be a rabbit? This curriculum introduces youth to rabbits, their behavior, nutritional and housing needs, and appropriate care through hands-on, inquiry-based activities that follow the experiential learning cycle. http://4h.ucanr.edu/Resources/Curriculum/FREE/ 

4-H Hands-on Science Activities (2-6th grades)
These series of science activities help afterschool educators facilitate hands-on learning with easy-to-understand instructions, outlined in the experiential learning model. Modules include: 4-H2O (water), biofuel blast, ecobot, mystery tube, reacting to chemistry, rockets to the rescue, trees 4U & me, It all flows downhill (watersheds), meet helix aspersa, and wired for wind.