Bolster Student Learning with STEM Enrichment Programs

Bolster Student Learning with STEM Enrichment Programs

What are Enrichment Programs?

Enrichment programs are all-in-one learning solutions developed to bridge the gap between the classroom and after-school or summer activities. Designed around 12 individual lessons which can be strung together or taught throughout a semester, Enrichment programs spotlight a particular STEAM subject through fun, interactive, hands-on learning activities, all in an effort to develop personal passions and to help mitigate summer learning loss.

As a free-standing package containing everything a learning environment needs to embark on a 30-student STEAMventure, Enrichment Programs are specially formatted to allow for seamless integration regardless of an instructor’s teaching experience.

With scripts and easy-to-follow directions, class discussions, learning objectives and assessments, these programs are a sure-fire way to spark student STEAM interest.

Learning Doesn’t Stop When the Final Bell Rings

PCS Edventures develops each Enrichment program with a few goals in mind. The 12-day programs needed to:

  • Engage up to 30 students with STEAM
  • Develop individual learning interests
  • Be accessible to all learning environments
  • Align with modern learning standards
  • And help mitigate the effects of summer learning loss

In recent years, researchers have started looking at the effects of summer break on learning and the results have been rather shocking.

While the concept of summer break was initially meant to standardize the number of months in school between rural and urban students, research from the last 100 years shows it does more harm than good (McCombs, Augustine, Schwartz, Bodilly, Mcinnis, Lichter, Cross, 2011). Not only does this gap cause students to start each school year approximately a month behind where they left off the previous year, but they have lessened mental retention abilities and lower test scores (McCombs et al., 2011).

This learning loss, however, isn’t a lost cause. Through specialized summer learning programs like PCS Edventures’ Enrichment programs, not only can the loss be mitigated, but students can even see gains in achievement. With programs introducing concepts such as genetics, structural engineering, statistics, wilderness survival and stop-motion animation, these programs also incorporate 21st-century skills to prepare young students for a technologically advanced future.

With mental stimulation during their break from school, students are more likely to have better mental retention, develop a deeper interest in such subjects and benefit from the effects of academic summer programs long-term.

For more information on Summer Learning Loss, visit The Science of Summer Camps Whitepaper here

The Guts of STEAM Enrichment

While each Enrichment program is unique to its learning objective, the programs all follow a similar structure to help ease the weight of implementation. Whether you’re a seasoned teacher or a summer camp counselor, these programs contain everything you need to get started right out of the box (and we really mean everything — pencils, scissors, and even color copies for up to 30 students) which means less time shopping for supplies and more time spent actively teaching.

Every program is composed of 12 lessons, each designed to last about one hour. Instructors can use one a day for twelve days or clump them together to use in longer blocks. Lessons can also be broken apart and worked in throughout the course of a school year.

The beginning of each lesson includes a quick overview of the day:

  • STEAM CONNECTIONS: The specific topics in the lesson connected to Science, Technology, Engineering or Math. Science and Engineering topics match the Disciplinary Core Ideas of the Next Generation Science Standards and Math topics are drawn from the domains of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.
  • DURATION: How long the lesson is designed to last. Each lesson is designed to last about 60 minutes and can be extended with the ideas at the end of each day.
  • MATERIALS: A list of supplies needed for the day.
  • SCHEDULE: A list of the day’s activities in order, including estimated times for each part.
  • OBJECTIVE: A brief performance goal for each lesson.
  • ALIGNED STANDARDS: Relevant Common Core Math and Language Arts, International Society for Technology and Engineering Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.
  • HABITS OF MIND: 16 “thinking habits” developed by Art Costa and Bena Kallick to empower students to succeed in a 21st-century learning environment. Two or three are listed and emphasized each day.
  • 21ST CENTURY SKILLS: A set of widely-applicable abilities essential for success in the information age. Two or three are listed and emphasized each day.
  • KEY TERMS & BACKGROUND INFORMATION: This section consists of a brief list of vocabulary terms students should be familiar with and detailed background information to allow instructors to answer any questions that might come up during a lesson.
  • OVERVIEW: A quick rundown of any preparation to take care of ahead of time.

After each overview is a list of step-by-step instructions for the day. This section is written to be accessible to a wide range of instructors, with directions to the instructors in black and example scripts to be read to students in blue. The color-coding is intended as a resource to give instructors a clear picture of how to make camp a fun, inquiry-driven experience for their learners.

The end of each lesson has a few additional resources:

  • CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING: Questions to check student understanding during and after each lesson. Use them in discussion or journaling for assessment or reflection.
  • EXTENSIONS: Extra ideas to extend concepts further or challenge students who finish early.

The Breadth and Depth of Enrichment Programs

Since its inception, the list of available programs has grown considerably, with brand new programs being developed every year. From discovering the secrets of our oceans to flying mini drones, there is an enrichment program perfect for the unique needs of your students.

Grades 1-3

BrickLAB Zoo

Traverse tricky terrain, shake claws with lobsters and design ecosySTEAMs in this life science program!

The Science of Super Powers

In this freshly redesigned favorite, students answer the call for aid by dissecting superhero skill-sets to uncover the science behind super powers.

Unleash Your Wild Side

Investigate the diversity of the planet as globe-trotting artists!

View the entire 1-3 collection.

Grades 4-8

Ready, Set, Drone!

Take to the skies with mini drones! Housing a thrilling, hands-on aerial robotics platform, this 12-day program is the perfect introduction to the world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Oceanic Exploration

In this incredible program, students journey from the tropics to the poles, inspect arctic food webs, simulate coral reef adaptations and survey the Mariana Trench.


Tap into the incredible practice of stop motion film production and learn technique from the ground up.

To view the entire 4-8 collection, click here

Grades 6-8


As survivalists, students learn exactly what to do in an emergency through the team-based study of real-world survival skills.


Enter virtual reality in style with this unique opportunity to learn and explore programming and video game design.

Structural Design

Get creativity flowing as students don their hard hats to learn the complexities of designing structures!

To view the entire 6-8 collection, click here

The Secret to their Success

Through a structured discovery-based and inquiry-driven environment, Enrichment programs key-in on the fact that learning is a constructive, iterative process. Learners actively build understanding by assembling bits of information into working models and concepts, which then fortifies their understanding as they attempt to apply it to a new scenario.

Since the process of knowledge construction, testing, analysis and reconstruction can take some time, it is ideal that no step along the way is bogged down by the need for excessive feedback. Traditionally, classroom feedback comes from the instructor. With many students and one instructor, this means that any individual learner’s process can be repeatedly slowed by the feedback bottleneck.

It has been shown through extensive studies and test groups that it is better to provide students with immediate, continuous feedback, coming directly from their personal experience. This is a primary goal of the hands-on, activity-based learning of Enrichment Programs.

Students, during the development of a project, repeatedly observe the results of their work, and they can adjust their process according to that “natural” learning. In doing so, motivation tends to shift from extrinsic to intrinsic as students focus on the task at hand rather than on others’ perception of their skill value.

Why Choose Enrichment Programs?

For over 30 years, PCS Edventures has promoted exciting, hands-on learning to develop the foundations of scientific inquiry, engineering design principles, technological literacy and spatial mathematical awareness. By having students engage with STEAM through problem-solving, communication, reflection and collaboration skills, Enrichment Programs excel at integrating instructional goals into application-based learning experiences.

With easy-to-implement packages containing all the materials, instructions, learning objectives and standard alignments any instructor needs to invigorate any classroom, after-school program or summer camp, Enrichment programs are the epitome of plug-and-play. Start your STEAMventure today!

Interested in discovering how Enrichment Programs can invigorate your learning environment? Download a free Curriculum Sample, peek behind the scenes at PCS Edventures or contact a STEAMbassador at (800) 429-3110 or for more information.

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