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.


Mad Science Takes Root at Wheeler Middle School - Growing into the NGSS

Traditional science instruction has alternated between classroom lectures on content and labs, where the concepts are explored through experiments. While this method can effectively deliver a science curriculum, it may limit opportunities to explore concepts through a real-world lens. With full implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) mandate drawing closer, educators are transitioning to a multifaceted (three-dimensional, if you will) approach rooted in student involvement and experiential learning.

With STEM Pre-Academy support, Wheeler Middle School has begun this transition. This school year, William Falzarano and his 7th grade students have been applying engineering design process to their life science content. Using elements of the engineering design process and the engineering notebook, students individually designed mini-hydroponics containers to grow heads of Anuenue lettuce. Falzarano shares that “the students benefit from learning to maintain a[n engineering] notebook, creating something they are responsible for, and taking care of a living thing.”

The 9 week germination-to-harvest process is designed to fit into an academic quarter. The simplicity of the non-circulating Kratky method creates an ideal balance between content immersion and time effectiveness; after initial setup, students monitored their plant’s progress regularly, but did not need to work excessively to maintain its growth. The largely self-sustaining system freed up the majority of the quarter to cover other content, and could also be used as a springboard for teaching other material. This kind of flexibility makes the project both scalable and adaptable to many different classroom situations.

Hydroponics in the classroom allows for a tangible learning experience integrating life science principles deeply rooted in earth science, environmental phenomena and sustainability practices. The simplicity of these student-designed systems encourages pupils to share their learning at home, and may help to bridge the gap between school and family support systems. The call for recycled containers was met with enthusiastic response from parents and school community—parents endorsed the project by supplying enough containers to support implementation for the majority of the school year.

Problem-solving project opportunities such as this help students develop critical skills and confidence that better prepare them for life beyond middle school. After two quarters of successful implementation, Leighton Nakamoto, Wheeler Middle School Vice Principal remarked that “the students really connect with the creativity and design process… it’s important to allow them to engage with the subject in a way that better prepares them to effectively pursue their interests.”

With Mad Science and the Anuenue lettuce in good hands, Wheeler Middle School looks forward to future opportunities for hands-on learning and the engineering design process in the classroom.

Want to learn more? Contact us!

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...

The Leaves

pyerxa's picture
pyerxa

#edwinjcolon
I am going to do a challenge with cars this quarter (gonna try to get those remotes). Cheryl is dropping by some things and I asked if she could bring a couple sets of those different geared cars by. However, I did not see them on the toolkit. Would you mind getting them together and passing them on to her so she can drop them off when she drops off some paperwork?
Also, it may be helpful if you put a "search" in the toolkit for teachers because as you get more items it is hard to find. Mahalo for all your support! Keep your fingers crossed on the remotes.

Nov 13 2019 - 8:18am

edwinjcolon's picture
edwinjcolon

Aloha Paige,

The gear car set is ready to go. Davin will be dropping it by today when he brings the forms to your school.


Thanks for letting us know the gear car do not show in the toolkit for teachers menu and the search bar recommendation, we will look into it.


I hope you get the remotes soon. We are looking forward to seeing how they work.


Thanks.

Nov 13 2019 - 11:37am
randallshinn's picture
randallshinn

Has anyone used Afinia H800 3D printer before? We are currently looking for support in using this in the classroom and would appreciate any help we can get.

randallshinn's picture
randallshinn

Aloha,

Looking to have my 8th grade students use a 3D design software (free version). Came across Tinkercad and SketchUp. Any recommendations which is easier for students to use? If you have any other software that you have used and is easy for students, please let me know.

Thanks!

thayamichi's picture
thayamichi

Hi,
I would like to know if any 3D printer softwares would be applicable for DREMEL 3D45 model. I would like to choose ones for 3D printer novice.

Oct 1 2019 - 10:41am

edwinjcolon's picture
edwinjcolon

Hi Tomo,

The Dremel 3D45 3D printer has its own free slicer program called Dremel DigiLab 3D Slicer which can convert any .STL or .OBJ file from 3D design software into a printable file. Link to the Download Page: https://digilab.dremel.com/3D-software

If you are looking for an entry-level 3D design software for yourself or your students, I would recommend TinkerCad or Google SketchUp. These two are the two most popular 3D design software used by our teachers. Both software are free online.

You can use TinkerCad or SketchUp to build the 3D designs and export as .STL or .OBJ files to use with the DigiLab 3D Slicer.

Please let me know if this answered your question.

Thanks

Oct 1 2019 - 1:35pm
pyerxa's picture
pyerxa

#edwinjcolon
Aloha Edwin - Looking for altimeter for my 2-Liter rockets. I bought like 4 of the Estes ones but they only worked properly the first few times I used them. Can you let me know what you would suggest me get? Mahalo

Jun 11 2019 - 4:24pm

edwinjcolon's picture
edwinjcolon

Aloha Paige,

The altimeter that basically is replacing the Estes Altimeter is the Jolly Logic Altimeter. They offer three models: AltimeterOne, AltimeterTwo, and AltimeterThree. Their prices range from $50 to $100 each. Specs can be found in this link: https://www.apogeerockets.com/Electronics_Payloads/Altimeters but I found them at a better price at Amazon.com

Thanks

Jun 12 2019 - 10:16am

See the rest of the Leaves...