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Afterschool Coaching for Reflective Educators in STEM (ACRES)

ACRES is an innovative, video-based coaching experience created by Maine Math and Science Alliance (MMSA). This professional development opportunity is about helping each other lead STEM learning effectively, regardless of the topics we teach or projects we do. Coaching activities happen online through Zoom. 


  • Increase your ability to facilitate STEM learning, regardless of what topic you teach. Learn practical tools and strategies applicable to many STEM learning situations.

  • Learn along with supportive colleagues

  • Practice Zoom and video technology


  • You need to be in the midst of leading STEM learning experiences during the training so you can video your work.

  • You will be asked to participate in the program evaluation. MMSA will provide a small stipend at the end of the program if you participate in the pre- and the post-course survey.

Module Descriptions

Asking Purposeful Questions
Examine the structure and process of questioning and discuss how we can help youth expand and clarify their thinking and develop their reasoning through the questions we ask them. This foundational ACRES module will also review the ACRES process and technology.

Modeling the Engineering Design Process
Experience an engineering design activity, learn about the engineering design process, and strategies for engaging youth in using the Engineering Process to solve a problem.

Modeling the Science Process
Develop skills to support students in asking investigable questions and planning and carrying out investigations.

Giving Youth Voice and Choice
Increase opportunities for youth to direct and manage their own learning and develop strategies for meaningfully incorporating youth ideas into as many aspects of STEM programming as possible.

Exploring Youth Understanding in STEM
Clarify the purpose of formative assessment and then learn several easy to implement strategies for monitoring youths’ understanding.

Developing STEM Identities and Making Career Connections
Help youth recognize their connection to and role in STEM and also to learn about STEM careers.

Upcoming ACRES Opportunities

About 6 - 10 Educators (staff or volunteer) can join each series. You are also welcome to join as a team. We estimate that each module will take about 6 hours – 2 hours for the lesson, 2 hours for recording, and 2 hours for the coaching session. Learn more at the MMSA FAQs page.

ACRES of Questions
Try out the ACRES reflective coaching experience with this foundational short workshop series, which includes Purposeful Questions module with two opportunities to reflect on using questions in practice. This series includes one lesson and 2 coaching session and meets 10 AM - 12 PM on Tuesdays November 6 - December 18, 2018. Use this link for specific dates and to register.

Developing STEM Practices & Mindset
Increase your skills facilitating opportunities for youth to use the science and engineering practices to develop a STEM mindset. This ACRES series includes 3 modules: Asking Purposeful Questions, Modeling the Science Process, and Modeling the Engineering Design Process. The group will meet for a lesson and coaching session for each module at 10 AM - 12 PM on Wednesdays from November 7 to February 20, 2019.

Supporting Youth Development through STEM
Increase your skills using positive youth development practices to engage youth in meaningful STEM learning experiences. This ACRES series includes 3 modules: Developing STEM Identities and Making Career Connections, Giving Youth Voice and Choice, and Exploring Youth Understanding in STEM. The group will meet for a lesson and coaching session for each module at 10 AM - 12 PM on Tuesdays from January 8 to April 23, 2019. Use this link for specific dates and to register. Note: you need to have completed the Purposeful Questions module before participating in this series.

ACRES Office Hours
Open to anyone from any of the series. This is optional time for help with technical issues or other support with project. Office hours will be held from 10 AM - 11 AM on the 2nd Monday of the month November 2018 to April 2019. Join Office Hours here (no registration required).


Facilitating STEM Learning Experiences

STEM and Diversity

Communicating About STEM