Kick off your school year with these 21 recruitment strategies from educators around Texas who have adapted our free TAME Club program to meet the needs of their schools, libraries, home-school groups, and communities.
We go through math classes and offer extra credit for students who attend our TAME speakers. We also count participation in TAME activities for service hours for our math club students or our AVID students. We had several great guest speakers from different areas of engineering. Make as many contacts as you can! This organization is a life-changer for some of our students.
—DR, High School Calculus Teacher, Title I School, Capital Area Chapter
Advice we would give is have your students turn in the permission slip the first week of school so that you can get as many enrolled as possible. TAME is very well received at our school and our kids love the opportunity to compete and participate in these events as they are not given many chances to find success.
—JP, Middle School Science Teacher, Title I School, Lubbock Chapter
It helps to create a Facebook group that showcases each meeting so parents can decide if they want to make the commitment too, not just the kids.
—CG, Parent, Community Organization, San Antonio Chapter
I used the engineering challenges to recruit students. [Download challenges here.] Sometimes we did them in physics class or at lunch which got other students interested in TAME. We did test review on Kahoot and other fun ways also.
—IE, High School Physics Teacher, Title I School, Gulf Coast Chapter
TAME is the highlight of my week. It is very liberating to get to do STEM activities with kids without having to tie them in to state standards. I like the State Competitions. It gives us something to work for and having students compete in them is a source of pride. This year we did some challenges from previous years' competitions to get ready for the challenge at the competitions. My students use the practice tests to prepare themselves for the tests. [Download challenges and practice tests here.] We did a long-term project for most of the rest of the time. We made a cardboard hydraulic arm.
—TO, Middle School Science Teacher, Title I School, Fort Worth Chapter
I had a hard time finding students to participate that meet the qualifications. Many ride the buses, therefore, staying after school was not possible. While others had younger siblings they were responsible for afterschool. In an attempt to make the club more accessible I met with some of the kids during lunch and homeroom class.
—DB, Middle School Engineering and Computer Science Teacher, Title I School, Gulf Coast Chapter
To recruit interested students, I created an engineering club targeting 8th grade students, as this was my campus’ first year to participate. My club met once a month to practice doing different STEM design challenges. We also would practice doing 10 questions at a time from the practice tests that way we could focus on any areas the students did not fully understand. Next year, I am hoping to work with the science and Math Counts clubs to recruit more students from all grade levels.
—JP, Middle School Engineering and Science Teacher, Title I School, Fort Worth Chapter
Friends were the best recruiters. Having great activities helped. Students loved the collaboration working on challenges and solving problems. On a side note, our school partnered with the Tarrant County Food Bank for snacks for our after school programs. This boosted attendance for all after school clubs.
—DH, Teacher, Title I School, Fort Worth Chapter
We try to give kids a taste of everything -- science, engineering, rocketry, art, bio-medicine, even earthquakes! It’s important for kids not just to learn, but to teach and give back to the community. We’re building leadership. We have a Student Advisory Board that weighs in on club activities for the year… One girl decided she wasn't that interested in engineering, but she really wanted to teach science to the little kids. There’s enough diversity that every kid can find a place for themselves. It’s great that we can get our students involved. They’re needed. We don’t want to lose our kids to the big city. We’d like them to stay in the area and live and work and keep the economy vibrant.
—JT, Home School Educator and 4H Club Sponsor, San Angelo Chapter
Having a special tutorial class for TAME club members was a huge success, and during such tutorials, light snacks are served. This took care of the hunger while they learn. I told them about scholarship opportunities, and the possibility of meeting new people like themselves. I will encourage more students to come to the practice (TAME Club Tutorials) next year.
—IO, High School Physics Teacher, Title I School, Gulf Coast Chapter
I had to be flexible with meeting days. In high school, the students are in numerous clubs/activities; flexibility is key.
—JN, High School Biology and Environmental Science Teacher, Title I School, Wichita Falls Chapter
I presented it as extracurricular with a grade attached. At the beginning of school, I spoke to the students about developing their academic resume which includes community involvement, competitions and participation in STEM-related clubs and this set a tone for the remainder of the year. I made sure they understood that sometimes it's not about the grades, it's about evidence that you are really interested and you participate in events that build on your knowledge and prepare you for a STEM career in college.
—HG, High School Engineering Teacher, Title I School, Gulf Coast Chapter
Meeting after school once a week helps our kiddos. It is something they look forward to every week. Keep meetings short, we do about 45 minute meetings and it works well.
—AH, Middle School Robotics Teacher, Title I School, Wichita Falls Chapter
Word of mouth and the Trailblazer allows me to promote TAME in a positive way and increased attendance. [Schedule a visit to your campus from one of TAME's mobile STEM museums here.] To be completely honest food was a great motivator for my club to attend meetings 2 times a week. We did battle bots with robot kits and we also did design build challenges. Promote scholarships and design build to keep parents and children engaged.
—DR, Middle School Science Teacher, Title I School, San Antonio Chapter
I really relied on my STEM class teachers to find my students that were not only interested but also needed a club like this to open doors.
—JM, Middle School Pre-Algebra and Algebra Teacher, Title I School, East Texas Chapter
At my school, we make signing up for TAME a part of the beginning of the school protocol… My school is adding a period of the day for clubs. One of those days will be a TAME day. That way the students will feel more invested, more prepared and then we can have more students show up for the competition. We also need to have a parent meeting so that the parents can see how important TAME can be for their student and will allow them to participate in competitions.
—LD, Middle School Robotics Teacher, Title I School, Gulf Coast Chapter
Put the word out there and make sure everyone’s voice is heard during the meetings. TAME brings like-minded kids together and helps them make long lasting friendships.
—DE, High School Chemistry and Astronomy Teacher, Title I School, Golden Triangle Chapter
I would tell other TAME Club Sponsors to be persistent. The longer I have done this, the more students I have participate. My kids in my TAME Club telling about their experiences has helped make our club bigger. That is the best way to recruit new students!
—KW, Middle School Math Teacher, Title I School, Lubbock Chapter
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Photo credit to Zelman Brounoff Photography.