Improving Connections

Staff Development Guide

Training Situation: Training (large group)

Length: 60 minutes

Objective: Participants will design dough creatures to learn to connect youths’ prior experiences to STEM activities.


  • Welcome – 5 minutes
  • Silent Introduction – 5 minutes
  • See the Skill in Action – 10 minutes
  • Planning to Connect Experiences to Learning – 10 minutes
  • Hands-on Learning – 20 minutes
  • Conclusion – 10 minutes





Video-Based Learning Module

As you watch the skill video below, think about these questions:

  • How does the staff member, Gauri, connect youth to different topics to guide the discussion? (Listen at 0:43, 1:06)
  • What does she do that connects to what youth already know? (Watch at 0:10, 0:55, 1:25)
  • How does Gauri re-state the youth’s responses and how does that link to their experiences in the current activity? (Listen at 1:35, 1:47)
  • How would you lead this discussion differently? What would you do the same?


Now that you’ve watched the video, reflect on what you saw and post your responses.

  • How did the youth use their prior knowledge to guide the planning and building of their stoves?
  • Why do you think it is important for STEM to be linked to everyday experiences?
  • What are some ways you have connected STEM to the needs of others?
  • What are some examples of ways you could connect to prior knowledge or experiences of the youth you work with?

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