GSSM’s Spark! and ENGAGE After School Programs Now Accepting Applications

Hartsville, SC - The South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) is now accepting applications for its outreach after school programs Spark! and ENGAGE. Online applications are available at

Delivered by GSSM's Center for Science Education & Outreach, Spark! and ENGAGE are after school programs designed to introduce early experiences with STEM help to build students' confidence with new technologies. Spark! and ENGAGE are intended to impact students through early interest and awareness of STEM studies. Snacks will be provided at these programs and the cost is free.

“Participating in one or all this semester’s SPARK sessions is an amazing opportunity for young learners to deepen their knowledge of science, mathematics, technology, and international cultures while interacting with GSSM students.” Said Randy LaCross, GSSM VP for Outreach and Global Initiatives. “You will walk away from your SPARK experience with the desire to attend more sessions and a motivation to learn more.”

ENGAGE is one four-week after-school engagement offered this fall to 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students. It will take place at GSSM from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM every Monday and Wednesday starting October 7 and ending October 30. In total, there will be eight sessions of captivating STEM fun!

Activities will center on the fundamentals of electrical circuits through breadboarding and electronics. Our project-based curriculum is to be challenging, interactive, and fun. Students will use critical thinking skills and deductive reasoning as they explore ways to create electrical circuits using a variety of materials. 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 after school workshops, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders follow their interests to learn the science or math concepts behind daily questions or curiosities. Enjoy hands-on activities in the areas of chemistry, biology, mathematics, physics, and more that 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 at GSSM from 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM, September 24 - October 24. Below is a list of all the SPARK! Workshops available.

Math: To Infinity and Beyond!
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
How far does infinity go? Ever wondered what exactly defines a number? In this session, participants will learn about the concept of infinity as well as irrational numbers and how series work, delving into the world of mathematical rules to see what happens when these rules are broken.

Physics: Forces & Work
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Have you ever questioned what natural forces exist in our universe? In this session, participants will learn what a force is and identify the forces interacting around us (frictional, magnetic, electric, and gravitational). Participants will garner a deeper understanding of gravity and movement on earth.

International Studies: Thailand
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Kob Khun Kha! Would you like to learn about the fantastic culture and stunning landscape of Thailand? In this session, participants will explore Thai cuisine, history, and customs from Govies who studied and traveled to Thailand for themselves!

Biology: Biodiversity
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Have you ever pondered how many species exist within an ecosystem? Or why we need different species? What happens if we don't have biodiversity on our planet? In this session, we will examine the earth from oceans to jungles to uncover the importance of biodiversity in how an ecosystem functions.

Physics: Rotation and Moment of Inertia
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Ever speculated why a fidget spinner spins? Or why some objects spin faster than others? Or how some objects don't fall while spinning? In this session, participants will use gyroscopes, spinning tops, and more to explore rotational motion, the moment of inertia, and the resistance to change.

Chemistry: Electrochemistry
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Do you ever question what electrons have to do with electricity? In this session, students will learn about the flow of electrons through spontaneous cellular reactions.

Math: Geometry
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Is there more to Geometry than circles and squares? In this session, participants will explore patterns in shapes with the Pythagorean Theorem and Pascal's Triangle through origami and the world around us.

Chemistry: Bonds & Energy
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
How does energy change? What happens when water melts, freezes, or vaporizes? Or how the bonds of water affect the phase changes? In this session, participants will learn about bonds and how molecular geometry impacts compounds.

Biology: Genetics
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Why do we look like our parents? Or what is a Punnett square? What do pea plants and Gregor Mendel have in common? In this workshop, participants will explore the mysteries of genetics.

"We welcome your interest in our inventive and engaging STEM after school programs," said Dr. Ershela Sims, GSSM Interim President. "We are honored to be able to serve an extraordinary group of students from around the state of South Carolina."

"We are delighted to serve bright young students with unique opportunities to creatively explore Science and Technology,” said Mrs. Irene Middleton, GSSM Director of Stem Experiences.

For more information about GSSM's programs, please visit

About GSSM
Founded in 1988, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics is a nationally recognized school serving over four hundred of the state's most accomplished STEM students in the 10th through 12th grades through its residential and virtual programs. GSSM offers college-level courses and experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at its campus in Hartsville. The school also delivers virtual curricula in engineering and STEM disciplines to students in partner school districts throughout the state. GSSM’s dynamic outreach programs, including science summer camps and teacher training, impact over 5,000 K-12 students every year. Learn more by visiting

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