Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Karen L. Koster

Second Advisor

Laura Dimock

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeff Wesner


STEM education, science education, interactive learning, elementary science, after school programs


STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is of increasing importance in our society. Advancements in technology, a growing need for new ideas in engineering and mathematics, and greater emphasis on science have all contributed to the renewed focus on STEM education. It is crucial that children develop an appreciation and enthusiasm for STEM at a young age. Fostering curiosity in students is a valuable investment in their personal future and the future of our world. The purpose of this thesis project was to design and implement an interactive STEM program for the after-school program, Beyond School Adventures in Vermillion, SD. This program consists of six fun, hands-on, and unique STEM activities for kindergarten and first-grade students; specifically, modules on solar heat, growing a plant, habitats, the science of sounds, engineering a communication device, and exploring plants.  Each module involves a short background presentation of the topic being explored, an opportunity for each student to do the activity, and a take-home component for extended learning and sharing of their new understanding. This project involved the development, funding, testing, revision of the modules, and presentation to the students. In future years, this project will be sustained as an outreach program of the USD Biology Club.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.