Expert Reviews for
Afterschool Explorations in Science (AXIS)
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a resource in the Science Afterschool Consumers Guide.
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Review Synopsis: by afterschool program expert
|Each AXIS unit includes: brightly colored activity books for students that have instructions and pictures for all of the activities, a leader's guide; and a materials kit with all supplies and consumables needed to carry out the activities for a group of 12 students. A group of multicultural cartoon characters introduce each activity and the leader’s guide provides background information as well as suggestions for teaching strategies that will help instructors and program staff plan. No prior science knowledge is necessary, but training is available through AXIS. Programs with English learners will find it help that AXIS features bilingual materials and all users should appreciate that the materials offer biographies of diverse scientists.|
|After School Explorations in Science is a workbook-supported curriculum. There are activities that are both group-based and designed for individual students. The series includes six themes: Exploring Paper, Crime Scene Explorations, Exploring the Secrets of Sugar and Salt, Exploring the Science of Magic, Exploring Sound & Music and Exploring Energy. Student workbooks are available in English and Spanish.
Afterschool Explorations in Science (AXIS) is a thematic curriculum designed specifically for use by afterschool programs with youth in grades 4-8. Each AXIS unit includes: brightly colored activity books for students that have instructions and pictures for all of the activities, a leader's guide; and a materials kit with all supplies and consumables needed to carry out the activities for a group of 12 students. Each theme takes about 10 weeks with 1 or 2 sessions per week Additional extension activities are provided in each unit. Each activity is introduced by a group of multicultural characters. The leader’s guide includes background information and suggested teaching strategies for program staff. No prior science knowledge is necessary and training is available.
These materials are best suited at sites where there has been little or no science education or where afterschool staff are resistant to science as an addition to the program. Several of the activities are games—for example, in the Exploring Paper unit students participate in a recycling game based on the materials of the objects being recycled. Afterschool staff may feel more comfortable playing a science game than conducting an inquiry-based experience. Very little preparation for AXIS activities is required because so much of the activity is workbook based and the materials come pre-packaged.
While some of the science in the AXIS themes tends be superficial and not to be inquiry-based, there is a good deal of the hands-on activity that is worthwhile. Students recycle paper, create wind chimes, and investigate a crime scene—all experiences that they might not otherwise have. Students have the opportunity to develop some science skills (for example observing, comparing, categorizing) in the context of the hands-on activities.