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Wise Guys and Gals

Hofstra University Center for STEM Research in conjunction with Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), The CUNY Graduate Center's Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE), the Boys & Girls Club of America and 25 Boys & Girls Club (B&GCs) have submitted an Innovations in Development Project for Advancing Informal STEM Learning.  WISe Guys and Gals-Boys & Girls as WISEngineering STEM Learners (WGG) will introduce middle school age youth to innovative and engaging blended STEM based engineering challenges that include both online and hands-on activities.  Using an evidenced centered design approach to devlopment and assessment, WGG will develop, review, try-out, revise and eventually pilot, research, evaluate, and disseminate short (one-hour) and longer (six-hour) design activities.  The underlying theoretical framework used to create these design challenges that will facilitate youth development of engineering thinking, STEM habits of mind, and better problem solving strategies builds on proof of concept work supported by NSF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The open source, on-line interface WISEngineering, provides numerous virtual tools (e.g. social networking, Design Journal, embedded assessments) that promote learning and collaboration through challenging, thoughtful, and creative work.  By the end of the project, over 6600 middle school aged youth, the majority from groups underrepresented in STEM area, will be provided with opportunities to experience engineering design as they develop engineering thinking, new STEM competencies, STEM career awareness,and an appreciation for the civic value of STEM knowledge.  Additionally, Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the US will have new tools for engaging their youth in STEM.