Opportunity number
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums (STEMEX)
Due date
Education Education & Workforce
Project funding
Up to $1,000,000
Program funding
Funding size
Up to $5M

STEM Expert Facilitation of Family Learning in Libraries and Museums (STEMEX)

RFP Summary provided by the agency

This special joint NLG-Libraries and NLG-Museums initiative invites proposals for research on informal educational approaches that leverage community Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professionals in the broadest sense. Funded research projects will create a foundation for reaching children and families from diverse economic, social, and cultural backgrounds, with different levels of knowledge about STEM.
We are interested in proposals for design-based research projects that develop and explore models for inquiry-based STEM programs delivered by scientists, engineers, and related technical practitioners (STEM experts) to children ages 6-10 and their families. In particular, proposals should address the role of expert oral narratives (e.g., storytelling, personal histories, and analogies) as part of object-based science inquiry. Proposals should include information about how findings from this research will be applicable in both museum and library settings.

What is the mission and focus of the program: research, social, economic or others?

This special initiative seeks projects that will build upon models and frameworks such as but not limited to those exploring connected learning; object-based learning; problem-based learning; making and tinkering; and sociocultural learning among children and families. Any products should be adoptable and adaptable by museums and libraries of various sizes, disciplines, and resources. The desired outcome for young children and their families will be engagement with STEM professionals that enhances skills in scientific inquiry and interest and affinity with STEM within a range of real life contexts.

How do you submit to this opportunity?

Submit through Grants.gov

Who are the target applicants: cities, universities, companies, small business, nonprofits, or others?

Libraries, agencies, institutions of higher education, museums, and other entities that advance the museum and library fields

Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Fiscal Year: 2016, Award: $588,893. City: University Park. George Mason University, in partnership with the KID Museum and Montgomery County Public Libraries, will investigate how interactions among culturally and economically diverse families, STEM experts, and museum and library facilitators can help build interest in, knowledge of, and comfort with STEM. The project features the integration of object-oriented and making experiences; the use of functional linguistic tools that complement discourse analysis approaches to studying narrative and parent-child conversations; experts recruited from the fields of robotics, aeronautics, coding, optics, astronomy, botany, and others; and the exploration of constructs from nature of science and nature of STEM research in informal learning. The team will identify design principles for fostering collaboration between museums and libraries that are engaged in projects that combine STEM experts and making activities. The project will produce a framework, set of analytic tools, and a toolkit to help museums and libraries provide experiences for parents and young children that build knowledge and capacity to envision connections to the enterprise of science. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/mg-77-16-0137-16

(ii) Example project(s) summaries from past RFPs:

Fiscal Year: 2016, Award: $588,893, City: University Park. Researchers from Penn State’s College of Education, in partnership with the Schlow Centre Region Library, the Centre County Library, Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania, and Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center will explore approaches to working with STEM experts from Penn State University, local businesses, and a rural county agency. The project will use design-based research to iteratively develop family workshops on five personally relevant science themes that foster science conversations and intergenerational learning: Engineering my World (engineering); Weather Where I am (meteorology); Water Quality in my Community (toxicology, watershed monitoring); Plants around Us (botany, genetics, pollination), and My Happy Valley Sky (astronomy). The project will result in a model for personally relevant informal education that brings together community science topics, hands-on inquiry, and personal stories from STEM experts in order to help museum and library professionals learn where and how to place STEM experts’ stories within programs; engage parents in their children’s learning; and position children as knowledge builders in STEM content areas. https://www.imls.gov/grants/awarded/mg-77-16-0137-16

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