Supporting Nebraska Communities through School-Aged STEM Programs

young adult help elementary age student problem-solve

Craig Chandler

STEM CARES offers high-quality STEM activities for upper elementary-age youth in Nebraska childcare, afterschool, summer, and camp programs. Through this opportunity childcare sites can receive a minimum of six hours of STEM lessons taught by local high school students and supported by undergraduate students and youth development experts at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The opportunity is free and sites meeting the qualifications are encouraged to apply.

STEM CARES is offered by Nebraska 4-H in collaboration with Beyond School Bells with funding from the CARES Act.



Taught by local high school students

STEM lessons are taught by local high school students hired as Program Instructors.


Supported by Undergraduate Students

Program Instructors are guided and supported by current undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln who are hired as Instructional Leaders.


Led by Youth Development STEM Expert

Instructional Leaders and Program Instructors are trained and lead by a Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development STEM Specialist.


Research-based STEM Curriculum

Research-based STEM curriculum and resources ensure youth have a high-quality, hands-on learning experience, all while having fun!


six hours of free stem programming

STEM CARES provides a minimum of six hours of STEM programming to childcare programs serving school-age children.


customizable experience

Experiences are customized to fit current schedules and local needs.


The Power of Wind

Youth are introduced to the engineering design process, and engage in multiple activities to support knowledge-building and experiences around harnessing wind as a source of energy to do work.

Garden Engineering

Youth learn about different types of garden plants, from their start as a seed through growth and harvesting. While their plants are growing, youth engage in STEM activities to help them support their plants’ growth and to understand what plants need to grow well (container or bed gardening options available).

Mechanical Engineering

Youth are introduced to fundamentals of mechanical engineering and how machines work, using the engineering design process, through a series of activities to build understanding of gear, levers, cams, and other connecting pieces in machines. Youth will create a simple machine of their own, called an Automata.

Slime Engineers

Youth are introduced to the underlying basic chemistry of slime, including mixtures and solutions, solubility, and the difference between a physical and chemical reaction. Youth then explore a variety of slime and slime-like substances, before engineering their own slime recipes.


Childcare Providers

Nebraska childcare providers meeting the following qualifications are encouraged to apply:

  • Licensed childcare or summer care/camp program in Nebraska providing childcare services for school-age children (preferably grades 3-5)
  • Make arrangements for a group of approximately 12 youth to participate regularly
  • Can provide a dedicated learning space for each session
  • Can provide appropriate adult supervision, per required ratio

Childcare Provider Interest Form

Program Instructors

High school students are encouraged to apply to be Program Instructors. Program Instructors are responsible for teaching STEM programs in their county.

Program Instructor Job Description

Program Instructor Interest Form

Instructional Leaders

University of Nebraska–Lincoln undergraduate students are encouraged to apply to be Instructional Leaders. Instructional Leaders are responsible for guiding and supporting small online communities of Program Instructors.

Instructional Leader Job Description

Instructional Leader Interest Form

For questions about this program or the information on this page, please contact: