Date of Award


First Advisor

Robert W. Maloy

Second Advisor

Sharon Edwards


The Engineering and Design After-School Club was created in Fall 2017 with the hope of making science, technology, engineering, and math concepts accessible to all elementary school students in an afterschool setting and especially girls. This paper presents ideas from the second year (Fall 2018 and Spring 2019) of the Engineering School (Figure 1). The foundational principles of this weekly school is student directed learning, Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and the methods of interaction and conversations from the book How to Talk so Kids will Listen. All of these ideas and theories together inform this accessible and innovative after school experience.

Other afterschool programs were examined in order to determine what practices had been beneficial and foundational for them and in order to determine what made ours unique. From this research effort you will learn what has worked for other programs and how we, with minimal cost, piloted our own model to encourage and maintain student engagement with STEM topics. Engineering was fun as opposed to frightening and students were able to feel successful each week as they completed projects of their choosing, constructed from their own design in their own time. Ultimately the students ended up creating more than weekly projects as they internalized a sense of pride and accomplishment with each student directed and tutor guided design success.