The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) is now accepting applications for its free virtual after-school programs Spark. and ENGAGE. Online applications are available at

Delivered by GSSM’s Center for Science Education & Outreach, the programs are designed to introduce early experiences with STEM help to build students’ confidence with new technologies. They are intended to impact students through early interest and awareness of STEM studies.

ENGAGE is one six-week after-school engagement offered this fall to 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students. It will take place virtually from 4 pm to 5 pm every Monday starting October 5 and ending November 9. In total, there will be six sessions of captivating STEM fun.

Activities will center on computer programming through game design using Kodu technology. The project-based curriculum is to be challenging, interactive, and fun. Students will use creativity, critical thinking skills, and deductive reasoning to explore game design with the Kodu software. During ENGAGE sessions, participants will have opportunities to interact with GSSM students who serve as both instructors and role models.

SPARK. is designed to inspire an early interest in and awareness of STEM studies. In a series of virtual after school workshops, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders follow their interests to learn the science or math concepts behind daily questions or curiosities. Activities in the areas of chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, and more are designed for middle school students and taught by GSSM students. Students can select any or all workshops to attend. These sessions will take place virtually from 4 pm – 5 pm, September 29 – November 12. Below is a list of all the SPARK. Workshops available.

Biology: What Makes Us Sick?
September 29
Deadline to sign up: September 18
Viruses, colds, and flu, Oh My. Ever wondered why you get sniffly at certain times of the year? In this session, participants will discover what makes one sick, what keeps one healthy, and how to prevent certain illnesses.

Chemistry: Matter, the Physical Substance of the Universe
October 6
Deadline to sign up: September 25
What makes up everything? What do bricks, grass, and animals have in common? In this lesson, participants will explore the concept of matter and the various states of matter through experiments with the gas released when Alka-Seltzer reacts with water and the change from solid to gas when dry ice is immersed in warm water.

Math: Real-Life Math
October 8
Deadline to sign up: September 25
From cruise ships to famous artwork, math is everywhere. Participants in this lesson will explore different phenomena through the lens of patterns and equations. By learning about mathematics throughout history learn why math plays a role in everything. Come explore why math is such a big part of our lives.

Physics: Projectile Motion and Kinematics
October 13
Deadline to sign up: October 2
Did you know that you can predict an object’s motion by only knowing a few of its starting conditions? From shooting a basketball to a gymnast flying through the air, projectile motion helps predict precisely how an object will move through space. In this lesson, students will learn the basics of kinematics, including what determines how far an object goes, how high it goes, and how long it takes to get there. Activities include predicting where a ball will land after launched with an understanding of gravity’s role in its trajectory.

Spanish Language and Culture
October 15
Deadline to sign up: October 2
Have you ever wanted to learn more about Spanish-speaking countries? In this lesson, participants will learn about the culture of several Spanish-speaking countries such as Peru, Costa Rica, and Spain and learn some typical Spanish phrases from those countries. Activities in this lesson include listening to Spanish music and a map activity with Spanish-speaking countries. After this lesson, you’ll learn how to truly live La Pura Vida.

French Language and Culture
October 20
Deadline to sign up: October 9
Salut. Ever wanted to travel to France? In this lesson, participants will learn about French culture, including French dishes and the city of Paris. We will introduce the French language and where it is spoken worldwide, even outside of France. While working with an interactive map activity of French cities and listening to French music, students will be immersed in the French language and culture’s beauty.

Biology: Plants
October 22
Deadline to sign up: October 9
Have you ever wondered what is in the air you breathe? In this lesson, participants will learn about varieties of plants that make breathing possible. Participants will explore the different types of plants, fruits, and flowers, and work to overcome plant blindness.

Chemistry: Physical Changes vs. Chemical Changes
October 27
Deadline to sign up: October 16
Ever wondered what the difference between a physical and chemical change is? Or how the chemistry of ripping a piece of paper and burning a piece of paper is different? In this session, participants will identify how physical and chemical changes impact our everyday life. We will learn how dissolving sugar in water and mixing vinegar and baking soda are entirely different on a chemical level through hands-on experiments.

Math: What Are the Odds
November 4
Deadline to sign up: October 23
Do you like to play games? Want to win the lottery? Want to be a first draft NFL pick? Or improve your batting average? In this lesson, participants will use games and riddles to learn about statistics. Through fun videos and interactive activities, participants will explore concepts like the Monty Hall Problem, and the role statistics plays in our everyday lives.

Physics: Forces
November 5
Deadline to sign up: October 23
From picking up a pencil to keeping people on Earth, forces are all around. They explain the universe’s fundamental nature, from the smallest atom moving and combining with another to the enormous gravitational fields that allow Earth and other planets to revolve around the sun. In this lesson, participants will learn what a force is, identify the many forces interacting (frictional, magnetic, electric, and gravitational) and gain a deeper understanding of gravity and movement on Earth and the role friction plays.

Music: Physics in Music
November 10
Deadline to sign up: October 30
Do you like the sound of harmonies? Or maybe you’ve heard a nice guitar chord? In this lesson, students will learn how these chords are made and what makes them sound the way that they do. Students will explore the physics of pitch and several keys, including creating basic musical chords that we can play to test them out.

History: The Recent Years
November 12
Deadline to sign up: October 30
Have you ever wondered why the world is the way it is today? In this lesson, participants will explore recent American history from 1950 to the present, including significant social and cultural changes that lead to today. Listen to songs that defined the years, look at what people wore, and celebrate advancements from social leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. Even discover some of the most popular toys during this time. After this lesson, you’ll understand why grandparents don’t like today’s music.

For more information about GSSM’s Outreach programs, please visit

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