BLAST! Partners

Nebraska BLAST! Partners

Nebraska BLAST! (Building Lasting Afterschool STEM Teams) is an initiative designed to bring engaged STEM learning opportunities to students who attend Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool and summer programs.

Current Nebraska BLAST! partners include:

NASA Nebraska Space Grant
Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program
Nebraska Department of Education

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Biomedical Engineering
College of Engineering
Nebraska 4-H
Nebraska Extension

University of Nebraska – Omaha

Office of STEM Education




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Nebraska BLAST!


BLAST! Partners

Upcoming Workshops


Related Links

Nebraska BLAST! curriculum is now available at the following web address:

Nebraska BLAST! (Building Lasting Afterschool STEM Teams) is an initiative designed to bring engaging learning opportunities to students who attend Nebraska 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool and summer programs. The primary goal of Nebraska BLAST! is to partner with statewide, regional, and local organizations to provide professional development for teams of certified teachers and informal educators who then work together to plan and implement student-centered learning opportunities for students after school and in the summer.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nebraska BLAST!


For more information about each of these workshops, visit the Upcoming Workshops web page.



July 12 -14, 2017
Norfolk Community College
Lifelong Learning Center
Norfolk, NE

July 25-27
Gretna/Whitetail Creek Elementary School
19110 Greenleaf Street
Omaha, NE

August 1-3, 2017
Crete Intermediate School
1700 Glenwood Ave
Crete, NE   68333

Biomedical Engineering

July 25-26, 2017
Education Service Unit 13
4215 Avenue I
Scottsbluff, NE


For more information about Nebraska BLAST! please contact:
Kim Larson, Coordinator of Professional Development,
21st Century Community Learning Centers, 402-471-4824

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(Science, Technology, Engi21st CCLCneering, and Mathematics)






Connect2engineering is here to serve as a resource for engineering events and happenings in the region, as well as a comprehensive source for connecting with area professionals, students and faculty already in the engineering field. There’s no better way to find out about careers in engineering than from those who enjoy it every day.

This site hosts an extensive STEMworks Database of excellent STEM learning programs from around the country. Change the Equation (CTEq) is proud to host this database of programs that deepen young people’s learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The DESIGN SQUAD NATION website is an online community that grew out of the DESIGN SQUAD television series that aired on PBS KIDS. The site targets kids ages 8 and older and features creative activities, engaging video, interactive games, and exciting contests.
The goal of Design Squad is to give kids a stronger understanding of the design process, and the connection between engineering and the things we all use in everyday life.

STEM Resource Guide
FINE Newsletter, Volume VII, Issue 2
Harvard Family Research Project
Looking for innovative ways to provide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) opportunities for children outside of the classroom? This newsletter includes information on hands-on activities and advice from museums, libraries, and afterschool programs that you can use while exploring STEM with students.

SMILE’s learning activities, tools, and services are available to all but are designed especially for those who teach school-aged children in non-classroom settings (like museums, zoos, aquaria, and afterschool or outdoor education programs). SMILE is dedicated to bringing the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities developed by informal science organizations around the country to the wider informal educator community, while encouraging that community to both use and contribute to SMILE’s growing collection.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts (NRD’s) has a wide variety of projects and programs to educate youth (PK-12th Grade) about conserving and protecting the state’s natural resources.

The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

As part of NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, we are funded to promote aerospace-related research, education, and public service programs to encourage a Diverse Workforce. This is accomplished through a national network of colleges, universities, industry and federal agency partners.


NASA Education/Summer of Innovation
Visit the NASA Education Website. You’ll discover a wealth of information for students and educators. Find current opportunities, education-related feature stories and information about other NASA education projects.

NASA’s Digital Learning Network
NASA’s Digital Learning Network presents a series of videoconferences to assist educators in staying current on NASA education resources and related products. Topics to include: Exploring Space Through Math, Robotics, NASA Fit Explorers, NASA eProfessional Development Network — Robotics Course, MoonWorld, and On the Moon.

The goal of SciGirls is to change how girls think about science, technology, engineering and math – STEM. Although SciGirls targets engaging girls (8-13 years old) in STEM activities, the material can be utilized with everyone. The strategies that are highly beneficial to girls have also been proven to work with all learners, including underrepresented youth.

The Education Coalition works to support STEM programs for teachers and students at the U. S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies that offer STEM related programs. The STEM Education Coalition represents all sectors of the technological workforce – from knowledge workers, to educators, to scientists, engineers, and technicians. The participating organizations of the STEM Education Coalition are dedicated to ensuring quality STEM education at all levels.

The Strategic Air and Space Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is a home to the largest collection of aircraft and space artifacts in the state. This museum, located near Ashland, Nebraska, provides visitors of all ages with exciting educational exhibits and activities that will inform and excite those interested in learning more about air and space.

Middle and high school teacher participants in the Summer Professional Development Institute have developed high quality lesson plans that use transportation engineering applications to dynamically illustrate science and math concepts! Find repository of lesson plans here. No registration/password necessary.

The You for Youth website will help you connect and share resources with your colleagues, provide professional development and technical assistance opportunities, and offer tools for improving your program practices. You and your students are already using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) more than you may realize. This course suggests enjoyable ways to build on your existing knowledge as you help your students see that STEM is everywhere and for everyone.

4-H is the Cooperative Extension System’s dynamic, non-formal, educational program for today’s young people. The program partners the cooperative efforts of youth, volunteer leaders, state land-grant universities, state and local governments, 4-H Foundations, and the Cooperative State Research, Educational and Extension Service of the US Department of Agriculture. Nebraska 4-H is comprised of youth, ages 5-19, and adults. Adults are involved as volunteers working with youth as leaders or on committees and boards providing the framework for 4-H. More than 400 Extension staff across the state serve as primary contacts for the more than 135,000 youth and 20,000 volunteers.

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Summer21st CCLC


Building Quality in Summer Programs
This article recommends several action steps to help program operators access resources and achieve quality programming.

How to Make the Most of Summer: What Parents Can Do to Keep Kids Sharp Over the Summer
This document can be printed and provided to parents to share ideas on how to keep kids sharp over the summer.

Leading Summer Learning Programs: Tips to Recruit and Select Seasonal Staff
The National Center for Summer Learning interviewed outstanding summer programs to find out what they do to select quality staff for summer programs and this brochure provides information on online recruiting tools, interviewing, and determining wages.

Meaningful Linkages Between Summer Programs, Schools, and Community Partners: Conditions and Strategies for Success
This report examines what high quality summer learning programs with strong and meaningful school and community linkages looks like and it’s outcomes.

Spark! Highlighting Best Practices in Summer Learning
Building Community Systems for Summer Learning: Snapshots of State and Local Efforts
National Summer Learning Association (posted 1.31.2017)

Summer Bridge Programs
This policy brief focuses on one type of activity that is designed to help eigth-grade students make a successful transition to high school- summer bridge programs.

What Works for Summer Learning Programs for Low-Income Children and Youth: Preliminary Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Social Interventions
This review suggests some insights into promising practices on how to make summer learning programs effective and make positive impacts (refer to page 3 for information on staffing, class size, interventional content and interventional strategies).


Summer Learning Ideas at Home and in Your Community
National Summer Learning Association (posted 2.25.2016)

Tips to Keep Tweens and Teens Learning During the Summer
National Summer Learning Association (posted 2.25.2016)


Beyond the Bell
Beyond the Bell offers a toolkit that may be helpful in planning summer programs.

Kids Gardening
Educator resources including lesson plans

Edutopia: Fun and Free Summer Learning Resources from Edutopia
Visit this Edutopia webpage for information and resources to help you plan your summer program. (posted 1.30.2017)

Moving Summer Learning Forward: A Strategic Roadmap for Funding in Tough Times
National Summer Learning Association and the Mott Foundation (posted 2.25.2016)

National Summer Learning Association
This website gives access to research, publications, and information specific to summer programs.

Preventing Summer Learning Loss
edWeb Webinar
Retaining what is learned during the school year is vitally important during breaks, and this retention contributes to a student’s overall success in school. View this webinar recording to learn hands-on, practical strategies for preventing learning loss and keeping kids sharp all summer long.

Reading Rockets: Get Ready for Summer!
Enriching summertime literacy activities for students and families.

Summer Learning
The Wallace Foundation
Browse the reports and other resources on this webpage for insights into summer learning.
(posted 1.31.2017)

Summer Learning Day information and resources

You for Youth: Summer Planning with Y4Y
Webinar and resources to help with planning a summer program.

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Social Studies

Social Studies21st CCLC


21st Century Civics
This website is the creation of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O Connor and is designed to engage middle-school-aged children in civics (education, law, entertainment and technology experts developed the free web-based curriculum).

Biographies of Great African Americans (Enchanted Learning)
This website can be used by students to learn about African Americans during Black History Month.

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Secondary Resources

Secondary Resources21st CCLC


Afterschool: The Challenges of Recruiting and Retaining Older Youth
This brief by Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, addresses recruiting and retaining older youth in afterschool programs.

Building Bridges A Peace Corps Classroom Guide to Cross-Cultural Understanding
This book is designed for adaption by teachers in grades 6-12 and provides lessons to help students better understand culture, how it has shaped them, the perspective of other cultures, a respect for those who are different, and an increased awareness of the value and practicality of social service.


21st Century Civics
This website is the creation of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O Connor and is designed to engage middle-school-aged children in civics (education, law, entertainment and technology experts developed the free web-based curriculum).

Harvard Family Research Project (posted 6.4.2015)
FINE Newsletter: Engaging Students in Afterschool Learning
Volume VII, Issue 2, Summer 2015
Harvard Family Research Project

This is Their House, Too: An Afterschool Space Designed for and by Teenagers
This case study provides a portrait of the Everett Boys & Girls Club, located just outside of Boston, and explores what makes it a successful place of learning and development for young people.

Leave Them Wanting More: Engaging Youth in Afterschool
Afterschool programs are a powerful influence in the lives of young people, but their benefits can only be realized if youth are engaged. This commentary explores the different dimensions of youth engagement in afterschool programs and offers promising practices for those seeking to promote and foster youth engagement.

For middle-school students, who may think college is a long way off, this website helps direct them to start thinking about college: the benefits of going to college, what steps can be taken now to prepare, and how to get help.

Summer Bridge Programs
This policy brief focuses on one type of activity that is designed to help eigth-grade students make a successful transition to high school- summer bridge programs.

ThinkQuest is a learning environment for primary and secondary schools, offering projects, competition as well as a library of educational resources.

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Project-Based Learning, Civic Literacy & Service Learning

Project-Based Learning


Buck Institute for Education
Buck Institute for Education offers several free resources, such as definitions of project-based learning, how to design a project and project-based learning research.

Edutopia: What Works in Education
This website provides information and resources for implementing Project-Based Learning in the classroom and in the afterschool setting.

You for Youth: Project-Based Learning
This website, offered by the United States Department of Education, provides professional development resources and information on a variety of topics relevant to afterschool programs. The coaching module focused on project-based learning provides guidance and tools for implementing project-based learning in the afterschool setting.

Civic Literacy & Service Learning


Corporation for National and Community Service
This website shares resources on service learning.

ExtendED Notes: Teaching Students About Martin Luther King
Six resources to teach students about Martin Luther King

Free the Children
This website assists students raise money or assemble health kits to be provided to developing countries.

Global Campaign for Education
This organization plans Global Action week to raise awareness for quality education around the world.

This website offers students opportunities to join online discussions, share stories and get involved with projects.

Project-Based Learning, Civic Literacy & Service Learning 2017-08-23T21:05:19+00:00


General Science

100 People Project
The 100 People Project Foundation offers a toolbox of information including statistics, lessons, videos and student work to help students understand issues facing our planet and resources.

Assessment Tools in Informal Science
This website offers information including links, references, events and programs.

Exploratorium: The museum of science, art and human perception
This website includes sections on the science of gardening, sport science, speaking of music rewind, as well as a digital library and afterschool activities.

Jason Science (from National Geographic)
The JASON Project connects students with great explorers and great events to inspire and motivate them to learn science using core curriculum units, online videos, games, labs and field work.
This website gives links to tutorial sites in chemistry, biology, geography, astronomy, physics and math.

Lawrence Hall of Science
This website shares educational resources, including support for providing science in afterschool programs.
This website offers teacher professional development and teacher resources across the curriculum.
Teacher Resources

National Geographic: My Wonderful World
My Wonderful World is a national campaign to give kids the power of global knowledge and the website includes sections for parents, educators and kids & teens.

Nebraska BLAST!
Nebraska BLAST! provides professional development to staff in buildings with 21st CCLC programs and provides engaging NASA/SEM curriculum to middle school students attending 21st CCLC summer and afterschool programs across Nebraska.

This website allows students to explore nanoscience, read about scientists, play games, watch videos and ask questions.

National Science Teachers Association
This website provides resources for teaching science.

Nebraska Game & Parks Commission
Visit this site to learn about programs, events, and resources offered through Nebraska Game & Parks. Examples of programs offered include Family Fishing Nights, Family Camps, Youth Outdoor Skills Camps, Outdoor Discovery Program, and Outdoor Skills After School Program.

Ology (from American Museum of Natural History)
This interactive website for students 8 to 14 years olds (designed for schools and after school programs) includes activities and games related to science.

OneWorld Classrooms
OneWorld Classrooms offers free content for classrooms and access to global learning resources.

Scholastic Global Trek
This interactive site, with content for teachers. parents, administrators and students, lets students plan world travel (Expedia or Orbitz), but with an educational twist.

SEDL Afterschool Toolkit for Science
This section of the toolkit offers science practices, support materials, standards refreshers, literature review and more to help programs offer fun, hands-on innovative activities that explore science through inquiry based learning and real-world problems and projects.

Science NetLinks is a guide to meaningful standards-based Internet experiences for students, providing a wealth of resources for K-12 science educators (lessons, tools, resources and benchmarks).

Science 360
The National Science Foundation, NBC News and the National Football League have joined together to create a 10-episode video series that explores the science of football (other videos explore science, engineering, technology and math).

Travel 4 Life
Dean Jacobs has traversed across the globe exploring over 45 countries on a low budget adventure, and on this site he shares photos, newsletters, podcasts and educational resources.

Activities and Experiments

Bizarre Labs
Bizarre labs offers labs on growing sprouts.

Bottle Biology
Bottle Biology explores science and the environment with soda bottles and other recyclable materials.

PBS Kids
This section of PBS Kids includes a potato maze activity.

PBS Online: ClubZOOM
ClubZOOM is a 6 to 8 week after-school program that offers a fun, hands-on way to engage 8 to 10 year olds in science investigation using common household materials.

Skateboard Science
Skateboard Science investigates the physics of skateboarding tricks.

Animal Science Resources

National Geographic Kids
This website offers games, activities, stories and other resources to learn about people, places and animals from many different countries.

Project WILD
Project WILD is a wildlife focused conservation education program for K-12 educators and their students.


International Dark Sky Association
This website includes resources for teachers and a section for students.

Lunar and Planetary Institute
This website explores topics such as day and night, seasons, moon phases, meteors, sun, stars, and solar system.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA’s Education Materials Finder will help teachers locate resources that can be used in the classroom- users may search by keywords, grade level, product type and subject.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
This website includes information on the Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age.

Earth Science

21st Century Afterschool Science Project (CASP)
This website provides the Facilitator’s Guide to Incorporating Science in Afterschool & Exploring Water Science in Afterschool Curriculum (includes 21 lessons & student journal).

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
This website provides online tutorials, case studies, and lesson plans related to corals, currents, estuaries, global positioning, pollution, tides, oil spills, climate change, habitat management, marine sanctuaries, navigation and more.

National Science Foundation
This website includes a database of materials for teaching earth science including maps, documents and resources on volcanoes, earthquakes, rocks, oceans, plate tectonics, hydrothermal systems, earth’s magnetic field, geological time and more.

Project WET
Project WET provides resources to reach children, parents, educators, and communities of the world with water education.

Environmental Science

Afterschool Science Resource (PBS)
This resource activity guide, The Greens, encourages students to explore sustainability and take action on topics like recycling and global warming.

Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (NRD)
The NRD offers various classroom presentations and programs, and resources such as outdoor classroom grants, a lending library, scholarships for both educators and students and much more to support educators and help them better meet curriculum needs.

Scholastic: Act Green
This website offers learning games that will motivate students to consider our earth, while building academic skills.

The Roof is Growing!
This website provides teacher resources related to saving the environment.

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Mathematics21st CCLC


Exploratorium (The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception)
Here students can research topics related to math, such as the history of Mayan counting and calendars.

Illuminations offers resources for teaching math, including a library of online activities, lessons for pre-K-12, standards and web links.

SEDL Afterschool Training Toolkit
This section of the SEDL toolkit covers math concepts that could be included in the after school environment (from simple addition and subtraction to algebra and geometry) and offers resources for planning, incorporating real world activities, assessing programs, training staff and resources for key practices.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
This website provides math support and activities in English and Spanish, with a teacher corner and family corner, as well as sections for both elementary and middle school.

Mixing in Math
This website includes a bank of resources that add math to out-of-school time for ages 5-12.

The Securities and Exchange Commission
This website explores, among other topics and resources, reasons for saving and investing and explains compound interest, using slices of pizza to illustrate the benefits of compound interest.

Population Connection
This website has downloadable lesson plans and math activities in areas such as how human numbers and actions affect the availability of resources, how population changes and resource use affect humans, and population growth patterns and demographics.

Mathematics 2017-07-19T14:21:31+00:00
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