STEM Pre-Academy

Welcome to STEM Pre-Academy!

STEM Pre-Academy fosters inspiration and relevance in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through collaborative interaction between middle school teachers, university researchers and subject matter experts. Multidisciplinary interaction takes place in the form of teacher workshops, technical support and tools, and is driven by teacher inquiry and need. This statewide program helps educators in Hawai‘i’s public middle schools develop research-inspired technologies and processes and implement them in student curriculum and activities.

STEM Pre-Academy provides similar collaborative educational experiences that enable University of Hawai‘i research students to interact with Hawai‘i teachers and students in the classroom, in the field, and through online participation.

Through its projects and partnerships, STEM Pre-Academy introduces teachers to STEM research, technology, and innovation—supplying their students with the inspiration to consider technology and educational workforce possibilities in their future careers.

Cosmic Rays

A Cosmic Addition to Our Website!

2017 was a exciting year for collaboration with Dr. Veronica Bindi, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. We kicked off the partnership with a hosted presentation by Dr. Bindi for students and teachers entitled, When is the Best Time to Send Astronauts to Mars? We kept the collaboration going with a research-inspired project to design and build a low-cost particle detector that will, when complete, be an excellent hands-on resource for teachers and students.

We're happy to announce some fantastic resources available now on our online Space Particle Group Outreach pages. You'll find edited videos of the When is the Best Time to Send Astronauts to Mars? presentation, as well as a wealth of other materials and resources related to Dr. Bindi's exciting work.

Please check it out, and stay tuned for a bunch more exciting updates!

Research and Engineering Design Skills Clinic Featured!

RED Clinic

The October, 2017 Research and Engineering Design Skills Clinic for Students and Teachers (RED) event has been featured in the University of Hawai‘i news!

Check it out!

(And also have a look at the video trailer that was produced!)

Julie Segawa

Diving Deeper - A Teacher’s Experience with C-MORE Science Kits in the Classroom with Julia Segawa

As an 8th grade Earth and Space Science teacher, Julia Segawa enjoys “watching science come alive through hands-on, content-related activities.” Julia is the Stevenson Middle School host for the STEM Pre-Academy C-MORE Science Kits, and uses the kits to supplement her curriculum throughout the year. Read more...

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality - Ready, Set, Go!

Virtual reality and augmented reality are on the rise in classrooms. Here's a primer on getting started. Read more...

New Technology in a Traditional Art Class

Kapa‘a Middle School Art teacher Julia Sanderl shares her experience using a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 in a traditional art class. Read more...

Thoughts on Chromebooks with Logan Newbill

We caught up with Kapa‘a Middle School teacher Thomas “Logan” Newbill recently and asked if he would share his thoughts on Google Chromebook in the classroom. Read more...

Teachers Get Schooled!

On June 22 and 23, 2015, a workshop on the Engineering Design Process in middle schools was held at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Organized by the Hawaii Department of Education, the Office of Naval Research Project and Educational Leadership Program at Chaminade University, and STEM Pre-Academy, the workshop focused on giving teachers a solid foundation for implementing the Engineering Design Process in their classes. Read more...

Visit the new miniblog on Mobile Devices - Mobile Learning!

We've kicked off a new miniblog on this site and hope you’ll join the online conversation to learn more about the various mobile devices that are now inundating the consumer market and some of which are now being used in the classroom.

Nutrition Researcher Speaks to PE Classes

When science and engineering principles collide, the result can be quite practical with far-reaching effect as students at Jarrett Middle School learned in October from UH Jahren Geobiology Laboratory Research Technician, Josh Bostic.

Josh gave a great presentation to 3 PE classes at Jarrett Middle School on the science behind added sugars in the standard American diet. The students learned that making healthy food choices now will help keep their bodies healthy and free of chronic diseases in the future.

Follow-up Mini Workshop: Water Quality Field Trip to Kualoa Ranch

On Saturday, July 26, 2014, teachers from Waipahu Intermediate, Aliamanu Intermediate, Moanalua Middle and Ewa Makai Middle schools met at Kualoa Ranch Educational Center to participate in the STEM Pre-Academy Water Quality Follow-Up Mini Workshop.

Dr. Marek Kirs, a researcher at the University of Hawaii Water Resources Research Center, shared his research data and insight on water quality in the streams and beaches in Hawaii.

Feature Project: iPad Enabled Digital Publishing @ Moanalua Middle School

At Moanalua Middle School, Language Arts teacher Kathy Nagaji and her team piloted a project with students entitled, “iPad Enabled Digital Publishing”. They drew inspiration from the October 2013 iPad workshop co-presented by STEM Pre-Academy, Hawaii Creative Media, and students from Searider Productions, Wai`anae High School.

The Leaves

Haengbok's picture

Aloha Pre-Stem Academy Staff, I am currently using the laptop cart from pre- stem academy in my classroom, which the students are using for research, to write reports, Do online labs, create powerpoints, but the casing is deteriorating and leaving Black marks on the tables. Also they run out of power quickly and don't last through 3 periods before dying. Do you have any plans to replace them or repair them ? Any suggestions? Thanks Audrey

Nov 30 2017 - 8:44pm

sbrown's picture

Hi Audrey!

Thanks for letting us know about the laptops. Short term, when I've dealt with degrading rubber and plastics, I have generally just put a piece of tape or the bad bits. :) Super high tech!

For the other issues you are experiencing, we'll be in contact offline to see what we can do!

Thank you!!

Dec 8 2017 - 1:33pm
thayamichi's picture

Edwin and Steven,
My students printed out one part of the model over this weekend. It was successful printed as as you guided me to do so.
We would like to have your help on the printout. We wonder If we can removed as empty space we planned is filled up with plastics materials.
We also would to know if we can have an additional refill of plastic wire as it almost run out of it. Or would like to know where we can purchase it locally.
Thank you

Nov 27 2017 - 10:50am

sbrown's picture

Hi Tomo!

Thanks for stopping by our offices to show us the 3D printing fruits of your student's labor! I mentioned this while you were here, but often, you can rotate the model before printing (in your case, in the MakerBot software) so that it doesn't need to print any supporting material.

Here's an example of this on thingiverse.

If the ship had been printed sitting on it's landing gear, the printer would be forced to print supporting material under it because of the space between the bottom of the ship and the ground. But flipping it up, there is very little area that needs to be supported. I hope this made sense!

For purchase of filament, our goto place is plain-ol We do suggested getting MakerBot branded filament for the MakerBot printer, though--i really seems to make a difference in the final product and isn't really too much more expensive!

Thank you!

Dec 8 2017 - 1:40pm
sbrown's picture

Keeping with the Star Wars theme of my previous link, here's another great example of modifying the orientation of the model (and the model itself) to avoid printing supports.

And lastly, because it might help others, I'll relate another tidbit from our conversation. In the process of talking about the models that your students had designed, and specifically the pretty big size of those models, it was suggested that perhaps you make one of the design challenges to make a functional object, but also make it with the LEAST amount of filament. That requirement for the project will save time and money (in printing and filament) and also give the students another angle to explore.

Dec 8 2017 - 2:02pm
sbrown's picture

Here is something interesting that I did not know!

"...large parts of the Moon's crust are made up of 98% plagioclase."

New study explains why the Moon has a 'pure' crust
thayamichi's picture

Pre-Stem Academy Staff,
We will have a school science fair here in Washington Middle School on Tue & Wed. Dec. 12 & 13, 2017.
We have been looking for someone to volunteer a judge for this event. We would like to ask you folks a favor to be a judge if you are available.

Please complete the form linked below

WMS School Science Fair plan

Please contact us for any questions.
Tomo Hayamichi and Jason Akamine,

Nov 20 2017 - 12:00pm

sbrown's picture

Tomo (and Jason!),

Thanks for the heads-up!

We can put the word out to some folks who might be interested. We’ll follow up with you offline!

Thank you!


Nov 20 2017 - 9:08pm
thayamichi's picture

I was able to initiate the 3D printer with an iphone app, but not with a laptop. But I still need step by step procedure.
My student will be creating a prototype model using legos and scan and modify it with software. Is it possible?
So I would like to know how to scan an object and modify it with programming software as a prototype model prior to printing out.
As I read the manual and found that we need a canner separately(?) Is it available at your office?
Thank you

Nov 15 2017 - 3:31pm

sbrown's picture

Hi Tomo,

We don’t currently have a 3D scanner, but there are a couple of options that might be helpful to you and your students.

With the Lego Digital Designer ( you can build Lego models on the computer. (Then you can export parts lists and go buy the bits you need.)

But there’s also a path you can take to get the models out of Digital Designer and into a format that can be 3D printed.

There are a variety of ways to do this—but here’s an (slightly over-complicated) example:

This software is in the video, but also pretty good and actively developed:

I’d be happy to draft up a few instructions to help with this process—I’m sure there are others grappling with the same sorts of questions.

Thank you!


Nov 16 2017 - 2:34pm
thayamichi's picture


I will try our your suggestions.

Thank you for your practical suggestions to actualize my students' engineering project.

Thank you


Nov 17 2017 - 12:49pm

See the rest of the Leaves...