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.

Latest News

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

thayamichi's picture

One of the students have been working on a quantitative analysis of beta-carotene in carrots for the science project. I wonder anyone has any precise idea how to measure beta-carotene as we have not found a doable procedure to do this.
Thank you

Oct 4 2017 - 12:40pm

Carol.Oshiro's picture

Hi Tomo!

Thanks for contacting us. The process of quantifying beta-carotene in carrots will involve a two step process: 1) Extraction of beta-carotene in carrots and 2) measuring the the absorbance of the beta-carotene using a spectrometer. This process will require the use of a non-polar solvent such as ethanol. Is this what you had in mind, if so, I can e-mail you the specifics.

Thank you! Carol

Oct 5 2017 - 2:25pm
sasakidy's picture

Hi Tomo, to add to Carol's comments... please check to make sure this is appropriate for your needs.

Oct 5 2017 - 2:48pm
randallshinn's picture

Good Evening,

I have a student who is an 8th grader that is very interested in doing a science fair on nuclear fusion and stars. Since I have a basic knowledge and understanding of nuclear fusion and stars, I was hoping that you would be able to point me in the direction of someone who would be willing to mentor a student of mine. If you could provide me with a contact information, that would be great!

Look forward to hearing back from anyone with contact information.

Sep 27 2017 - 7:53pm

sbrown's picture

Hi Randy,

I put a couple feelers out and will let you know shortly what we find!

Thanks for reaching out, sir!


Sep 29 2017 - 12:57pm
pyerxa's picture

Edwin & Shaun - I tried to put in a request to borrow 11 Makey Makeys but it won't go through. Can you please help me with this? I would love to pick them up as soon as they're ready. Mahalo

Aug 14 2017 - 7:11am

edwinjcolon's picture

Aloha Paige,

Thanks for informing us about your problem and for placing your request after it was fixed. Your order will be ready for pick up today after noon.



Aug 15 2017 - 9:41am
MChapin's picture

I have been trying to use cheek cells as examples of animal cells when viewed through the microscope.
We both know this is a standard lab procedure. We cannot figure out what the problem is and our only variable is the 1% methylene blue solution.
Maybe it is out dated (our batch of it); but still we must be doing something wrong.
Any ideas are welcome. Thank you.

Jul 20 2017 - 10:24am

johncon21's picture

I can share my personal experience with having students mount and view cheek cells. I think the methylene blue is probably okay, but you can see cheek cells without stain. It's just harder to see them, they look like a box jellyfish. Gum chewing or recent meals make it more challenging as well. I think the gum removes most of the loose cheek cells.

Here's the procedure I had students follow with success:

1. Students use toothpicks to collect cells by scraping both inner cheeks for 15-30s.

2. Swipe the toothpick on clean slide.

3. Dry sample onto slide by waving in air or gently blowing (this is a crucial step).

4. Add stain (you may try without stain) and let sit for 30 sec

5. Gently rinse stain with eye dropper (carefully to prevent sample from washing off)

6. Add coverslip.

7. Using compound scope, start with lowest magnification and bring stage all the way up. You may also need to adjust light level at this point. When you have the slide in focus search for areas of dense cells. Cheek cells are very small at 40x magnification.

8. Center area of interest in the viewing field.

9. Go to higher magnification. and repeat to higher magnification

Good Luck!

Another fun microscope sample is to look at local raw honey. Students can see the pollen from the plants the bees visited and make connections to ecology.

Any other suggestions from the community?

Jul 20 2017 - 12:02pm
MWeinhouse's picture

Edwin, Will you be providing any 3-D printing training for the upcoming school year? Do you know of any good 3-D printing training sites for a teacher that pretty much knows nothing about the topic?

Jun 30 2017 - 6:57am

edwinjcolon's picture

Aloha Michelle, I hope you are having a great summer break. At this moment we are still planning the activities for the upcoming school year. We will notify you If we provide a 3D printer training or seminar. Is your school getting 3D printers? Would many teachers from your school be interested in this type of training? We plan our activities based on common interest areas and number of teachers from our end-year reports. Did you share this information in the report?

Mahalo, Edwin

Jun 30 2017 - 2:07pm

See the rest of the Leaves...