April resources from Million Girls Moonshot (2023)

By Charlotte Steinecke Posted: Apr 03, 2023

Every year on April 25 since 2003, scientists, biologists, and genetics enthusiasts come together to observe National DNA Day, celebrating the discovery and research into DNA and the scientific advancements that helped make progress possible. National DNA Day encourages people to learn more about the science that makes them genetically unique. Help youth feel unique and special with the following resources to use all month long!

Also in April - we are kicking off our monthly Afterschool Math Plus training series FREE for afterschool providers.

Million Girls Moonshot monthly asset packages are curated to suit the needs of program providers and staff in your state. Please share these assets widely with your partners and programs! To promote these opportunities, click here to access the MEDIA ASSETS.


Applications open for NASA SPARX Educator Beta Testers!

NASA SPARX (Sparking Participation and Real-world eXperiences in STEM), from NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement’s Next Gen STEM project, utilizes engineering design activities to connect students to STEM in a way only NASA can! SPARX provides educators with a collection of hands-on activities based on national standards, related training resources, and live virtual connections with NASA scientists and engineers to help improve student STEM literacy and identity. We invite educators to apply to beta test these exciting resources during summer 2023! Read about the benefits to educators and youth, and requirements for participation here. $200 Stipend for program participation.

Applications due April 7, 2023

Early Access to Free DNA Kits to Celebrate DNA Day!

Afterschool programs connected with the Moonshot get EARLY ACCESS to Illumina’s DNA kits! Every year, Illumina celebrates DNA Day throughout the month of April. Together with schools, districts and nonprofit partners, they provide educational programs and activities for all grade levels.

Illumina is providing “Moonshot educators” the materials and support to guide meaningful learning experiences for youth to discover the power of genomics. Visit their DNA Day site to receive illumina’s genomics learning materials/DNA Kits and learn more about available resources

Early Access Code: Million Girls Moonshot


ACRES Training Cohort: Facilitating Math Practices Wednesdays: 4/12/2023, 4/26/2023, and 5/10/2023 11:00 AM-1:00 PM EST / 8:00-10:00 am PST

Are you looking for fun ways to help youth build number sense and problem-solving skills? Math can take on new meaning when it is integrated into daily routines in our afterschool programs. In this module, afterschool educators will explore and practice strategies for making math engaging and accessible. Asking Purposeful Questions is a prerequisite to this skill. *The expectation is that you will be live at all three sessions and an active member of this coaching cohort. Recordings are not available if you are unable to attend. REGISTER HERE Code: AC228PQ

ACRES Training Cohort: Asking Purposeful Questions: Wednesdays:

05/03/2023, 05/17/2023, 05/31/2023 12:00 pm-2:00 pm EST/ 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST

Questions begin a path toward discovery, imagination, and STEM exploration. How can we help youth expand and clarify their thinking and develop their reasoning through the questions we ask them? This module is a great way to train staff on how to facilitate STEM learning. Experienced educators also love being part of a cohort as a way to connect with other educators across the country, to learn new lesson plans, and to reflect on practice. This is our introductory module and a prerequisite to other opportunities. *The expectation is that you will be live at all three sessions and an active member of this coaching cohort. Recordings are not available if you are unable to attend. REGISTER HERE Code: AC288PQ

ACRES Training Cohort: Facilitating Science Practices: Wednesdays: 05/31/2023, 06/14/2023, 06/28/2023 3:30 pm-5:30 pm EST/ 12:30-2:30 pm PST

How can we make sure that our ‘hands on’ science experiences for youth are also ‘minds on?’ In this module, participants learn how to support youth as they engage in science practices to learn science ideas, including planning and conducting investigations around testable questions. They’ll talk about the similarities and differences between questioning in science versus questioning in engineering contexts. REGISTER HERE Code: AC225SP

April 20, 2023 10:00am-4:00pm EST/ 7:00 am-1:00 pm PST (Registration deadline is April 6)

Developed by PEAR, the Dimensions of Success (DoS), is a research-based observation tool that measures the quality of students’ STEM learning experiences. The DoS training and certification process involves a two-day live webinar training, completion of video calibration exercises, a one-hour live calibration session, and successful completion of two practice observations in the field. Certification is provided at no cost Network and program leads affiliated with the Moonshot. REGISTER HERE

Click2Engineering Spring Community of Practice April 5, April 19, May 3, and 17 2023

The Click2Engineering community of practice (CoP) introduces out-of-school time educators to the basics of engineering and leading engineering activities with youth. The CoP is organized around the 10 Practices for an Engineering Mindset, and includes hands-on engineering activities, developing engineering experiences for youth, and learning skills to facilitate engineering practices. The CoP is four meetings over 8 weeks. REGISTER HERE

Click2CS Virtual Workshop: Supporting Productive Failure April 26, 2023 3:00-4:00 pm EST/ 12:00-1:00 pm PST

Knowing how to help youth see how failure can be productive is critical for developing an engineering mindset. Join this virtual workshop to learn how you can create learning experiences that support youth and help them persist through their frustration and learn from failures. By engaging in authentic engineering work, youth develop engineering identities and the mindset to solve problems and change the world. REGISTER HERE

Afterschool Math Plus Curriculum Training Thursdays: April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, August 15, September 19, October 17, and November 28, 2023 1:00 - 2:00 PM EST


Date and Time

Afterschool Math Plus Curriculum Topic Areas


1-2 p.m. EST

Jump Rope Math: Everyday Math & Exploring Jump Ropes

Collect data about participants’ jump rope techniques. Use the data to create bar graphs, draw conclusions, and ask questions about jumping rope.

May 16

1-2 p.m. EST

Jump Rope Math: The Whys of Jumping Rope

Conduct surveys about why people jump rope and use data to create bar graphs and Venn diagrams to represent people’s answers.

June 20

1-2 p.m. EST

Jump Rope Math: How Far Can You Go?

Create line graphs and use data to make predictions about how far jumpers can travel in a set amount of time.

July 18

1-2 p.m. EST

Jump Rope Math: Going to Great Lengths

Observe patterns, create a scatter graph, and analyze data to make predictions about connections between jump rope length and jumper height.

August 15

1-2 p.m. EST

Jump Rope Math: Designing a Math Investigation

Use bar graphs, line graphs, scatter graphs and Venn diagrams to explore different ways of answering math questions about jumping rope.

September 19

1-2 p.m. EST

MusicMath: Unexpected Math, Creating Rhythms, and Making Rhythm Patterns

Create musical patterns, then repeat the patterns and think about how to represent the patterns using words, pictures, and symbols.

October 17

1-2 p.m. EST

MusicMath: Composing Music (with Math!)

Experiment with repeating patterns and create new arrangements using similar sounds in different sequences.

November 14th

1-2 p.m. EST

MusicMath: Discovering Music Fractions

Identify and represent parts of fractions using music and explore combinations and permutations, or ways of creating variety while still using the same elements.

December 12th

1-2 p.m. EST

MusicMath: Orchestration

Use fractions to create musical compositions, then perform the compositions using found instruments (pans, boxes, pencils, whistles). Create new combinations and permutations for the music fractions.

Note: Each webinar will include strategies to support a positive Math Identity (e.g., role models, career connections, family connections, literacy connections).


Activity Playlist

Looking for a sequence of activities you can implement in your afterschool program today? Say goodbye to googling or searching on Pinterest. Use the following activities in sequence to support youth in building an engineering mindset.

  • Activity: Make a Candy DNA Model - Each human has a unique DNA sequence and the DNA in all of us is about 99.9% identical! In this activity, youth use pieces of candy to make a model for a short section of DNA—enough to get a sense of what DNA is like and how it encodes life.
  • Activity: As a part of Illumina’s The Future is Bright Campaign celebrating DNA Day, Million Girls Moonshot is partnering to provide a number of resources for programs to celebrate DNA day! Featured opportunities include a Virtual Lab Simulation; a Virtual Field trip; and DNA Decoded, ready to go, lessons and activities for educators!
  • Activity: Investigate Alien Genetics - This activity uses an alien model to demonstrate how genes or physical traits are passed on from parents to their offspring. How similar will alien siblings look? OR Check out Baby Lab and use probability to predict genetic traits.
  • Activity: Effects of Genetic Engineering - Farmers have been using “genetic engineering” for hundreds (maybe thousands!) of years. They use the seeds of the biggest, tastiest, etc. fruit to plant the next generation of that particular plant. Have a discussion about the advantages.
  • Activity: Make String from Algae - The seaweed in the ocean (or even eaten as a snack) is inspiring innovators to imagine new materials. Large brown algae, like kelp, contains polymers—long chains of molecules—that are more environmentally friendly than the ones in most plastics. These natural polymers (alginates) could eventually be used to create sustainable everyday objects. Try your hand at using a bit of chemistry to turn biodegradable polymers from algae into custom string!

Looking for EVEN More Activities at NASA?! Activity Toolkit: Engineering is Elementary's NASA Partnership free units - A suite of free NASA-funded STEM resources for students in grades 3-8. All resources are research-based and classroom-tested. They are designed to support students’ understanding of space, while helping them see themselves as capable problem solvers.


Less than 50 percentof high school girls know a woman in a STEM career. Let’s change that - recruit STEM professionals to support the youth you serve today!

The Moonshot helps to connect STEM experts with OST programs! Share your program’s volunteer opportunities for STEM experts to work with your youth today! Register here to find role models and mentors in STEM.


  • As a part of Illumina’s The Future is Bright Campaign celebrating DNA Day, Million Girls Moonshot is partnering to provide a number of resources for programs to celebrate DNA day! Featured opportunities include a Virtual Lab Simulation; a Virtual Field trip; and DNA Decoded, ready to go, lessons and activities for educators!
  • Resource Library: 23 and Me Educator Resources - Find a list of picture books on DNA and more information about the 23andMe Education Program, which is designed to support and advanced genetics education. By joining the community, educators and students will receive important updates from the 23andMe Education team about new educational resources, events, programs, and opportunities to engage with 23andMe.
  • Lesson Plan: Teach Engineering Lesson Plan: DNA - In this lesson for grades 5-7 students work through an example showing how DNA provides the "recipe" for making human body proteins. They see how the pattern of nucleotide bases (adenine, thymine, guanine, cytosine) forms the double helix ladder shape of DNA and serves as the code for the steps required to make genes. Students extend their knowledge by conducting the associated activities to learn ways that engineers and scientists are applying their understanding of DNA in our world.
  • Coding Resources: Boston College Bioengineering Curriculum Resources - CRISPEE is a tangible tool for young children ages 5-8 to explore the metaphor of a coding language for living organisms. Through developmentally appropriate tools and curriculum resources, children can explore concepts from bioengineering and gene editing. Access free resources from the NSF-funded CRISPEE project on this page.


  • Resource Library: Earth Day Education - Browse resources to guide your environmental education lessons and stewardship activities on Earth Day and throughout the year. These resources can be adapted to a variety of ages and settings.
  • Resource Library: PBS Kids Protecting Our Planet Resources - Earth day games, crafts, printables, and other resources for kids ages 2-5 from PBS Kids.
  • Toolkit: Math Equity Toolkit - This toolkit layers professional development into “Strides” that educators can take along a path to equitable education. Topics include Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction and Creating Conditions to Thrive.
  • Toolkit: Brokering Youth Pathways: A Toolkit for Connecting Youth to Future Opportunity from the Hive Research Network - This toolkit shares ways in which various out-of-school educators and professionals have approached the challenge of brokering. We provide a framework, practice briefs and reports that focus on a particular issue or challenge and provide concrete examples, as well as illustrate how our partners worked through designing new brokering routines in partnership with our research team.


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