STEM Ecosystems

Developing STEM ecosystem best practices to broaden participation & integrate experts.

Photo of group of people at a desk working together

STEM learning ecosystems unite people, organizations, and resources to create STEM engagement and education experiences for all people throughout their lifetimes, at school, at home, at work, and in the community. By developing mutually beneficial partnerships, leveraging complementary expertise and resources, implementing best practices, and creating pathways among learning opportunities, these community-wide partnerships support individual learning and community growth.

STEM learning ecosystems bring together people, organizations, and resources to create powerful opportunities for STEM engagement. Using principles and practices from STEM ecosystems, NASA science, people, and assets can be integrated into authentic STEM learning experiences that make Earth and space science compelling and relatable for diverse participants.

The SciAct STEM Ecosystems project advances NASA’s vision for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning by generating and synthesizing principles and practices for STEM ecosystems that can help the Science Activation program increase participation of underrepresented and underserved groups in SciAct offerings and integrate subject matter experts (SMEs) into program activities.

Building on substantial data from research, evaluation, and practice related to STEM learning ecosystems, SciAct STEM Ecosystems will: 1) Complete a landscape study and develop a guiding framework that synthesize evidence for principles and practices of learning ecosystems that create equitable partnerships and broaden participation in authentic STEM engagement; 2) Implement, document, and study exemplary ecosystems that leverage NASA SMD’s unique assets, stories, and people; 3) Provide professional development training and resources to SciAct participants to support learning related to STEM ecosystem principles and practices; and 4) Facilitate widespread dissemination and sustainability of project findings, resources, and approaches among professionals who are active in STEM engagement and education.