• Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program

  • From Life Sciences to Robotics, fellows of the ASMP program are given a choice from a select number of curricula hand-picked by our Education and Public Programs staff for their hands-on and inquiry-based approach to STEM education in the afterschool environment.

    There are many sources for our curricula, from in-house STEM curriculum experts, to collaborations with STEM mentors throughout the SUNY system, and nationally recognized programs, such as NASA, New York Hall of Science, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

    Our curricula is ever-evolving and adaptable to best suit the needs of the students with which we engage, taking into account available resources and technology in participating afterschool locations.

    Below you can find a full list of the curricula implemented through the New York Academy of Sciences Afterschool Mentoring Program. Curriculum name followed by an asterisk (*) are currently being taught in at least one of our many locations:

    Afterschool Universe

    Afterschool Universe

    Afterschool Universe is designed to get students thinking about the size and age of the Universe, and their place in it! Physics is the language that we use to describe the Universe both near and far, and there is no better way to apply these lessons than by exploring the Space we call home!


    Robotics *

    FIRST Lego League is a robotics program for 9- to 14-year-old students through which teams design and program robots to complete real world challenges. Incorporating teamwork, practices, and team spirit, robotics is more similar to a sports team than your average afterschool science club.

    Human Body Systems

    During the ten sessions, New York Academy of Sciences Education Fellows will explore the Skeleton, Muscles, Digestion, Respiration, CNS, and Immunology. Middle school participants experience everything from sophisticated dissections of worms, brains, and chicken legs to the creation of cool model blood, mucus and chime.


    Exploring Birds

    Exploring Birds

    In Exploring Birds, a nine-week course in the life sciences, students learn about ecosystems, habitats, and communities by participating in Cornell University's BirdSleuth project. Students engage in authentic inquiry through citizen science and their own scientific investigations.

    Earth Science

    Earth Science

    The goal of Earth Science is to expand students' views and understanding of both the history of the planet and the ongoing processes that continue to shape it today, providing a foundation for increased Earth literacy and allowing them to more uniquely appreciate their surroundings.



    Students use specifically designed lab activities develop a basic understanding of genetics, address the common misconceptions about genetics, and connect abstract scientific concepts to their everyday knowledge. The labs are designed to cover basic concepts in genetics including the structure and function of DNA; genes, traits, and heredity.



    Students play games and engage in hands-on activities, guided by their young scientist mentors, and while beginning to notice the patterns that emerge, will develop a mathematical vocabulary for what they are seeing. Through both group activity work and direct instruction, students will begin to see that mathematics is about quantity, but also about finding the patterns in our world around us everyday and making logical connections among observations.


    Based on the 4-H Junk Drawer Robotics curriculum, students learn the iterative design process and the function of shape and simple machines while creating contraptions. Simple household materials build to foundational learning about the principles of engineering.

    Nutrition *

    Students take part in explorations of how the nutrients found in food play a role in our bodies every day. Through reflective journaling and free-choice activities, students gain a holistic appreciation of the choices they make in the foods they consume.

    Forensics *

    Students get involved in a crime scene at the chocolate factory to learn how real world crime scene scientists use laboratory techniques like DNA barcoding and fingerprint identification to more scientifically conjecture on “who dun it.”

    Roots and STEM *

    Designed specifically for 4th and 5th graders, this curriculum lays the “ground work” for later afterschool enrichment courses by spiraling through activities in many fundamental STEM disciplines including Earth Science, Chemistry, Biology, Space Science, Physics, and Engineering. By planting the roots in these younger minds, we hope that career aspirations will flower from the STEM disciplines.

    Girls Who Code *

    In collaboration with the Girls Who Code organization, the Academy trains scientists to lead Girl Science Clubs through the FUNdamentals of Computer Science and programming.

    Life Sciences 101 *

    Students use specifically designed lab activities to develop a basic understanding of genetics, the structure of the cell, and connect microbiology to the macro body systems scale. The labs are designed to cover basic concepts in biology and applications in ethics.

  • Partners

    • Department of Youth and Community Development
    • Citizen Schools

    The New York Academy of Sciences Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), will match NYC's graduate students and postdocs with afterschool programs in New York City. The program will address the dearth of access to hands-on science for underserved communities by delivering new and engaging curricula to middle school students.


    This program was made possible by generous support from the The Achelis and Bodman Foundations, The After School Corporation, The Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Foundation, Fred J. Brotherton Foundation, Cognizant, Fordham Street Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives - Paul Walker, The William Randolph Hearst Foundations, Infosys Foundation USA, The Pamela B. and Thomas C. Jackson Fund, Drs. Gabrielle Reem and Herbert Kayden, Laurie J. Landeau, Martin Leibowitz, National Science Foundation (DRL 1223303), National Science Foundation (DRL 1440869), New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Department of Education, New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, New York Community Trust, The Pinkerton Foundation, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Toyota USA Foundation, Verizon Foundation, and The Laura B. Vogler Foundation.

    Grant Support

    The Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (DRL-1223303) and (DRL 1440869). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.