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

caroline.wood's picture

We received an email about lettuce seedlings for hydroponics:

QUESTION: "As of this morning, in the chamber set up 8/8 all but one netpot has sprouted, in the second chamber setup on 8/9 all but 2 have sprouted. I have also noticed tiny black flies near both light sources and domes for each class, are they a threat to the sprouts? And is it time to slightly open the vents on both domes?"

ANSWER: The first thing to do is find the source of the flies. (Hint: if you have an aquarium or other plants in your classroom, you may want to check there first!) In the meantime, you should keep the dome vents closed to prevent the flies from laying eggs in the seedlings' rock wool; to refresh the air inside, just lift the dome once or twice a day.

randallshinn's picture

Our science department will be implementing the integrated science for grades 6-8 this school year. Currently, we are struggling with the concepts of electric and magnetic fields and was hoping that someone would be able to provide us with resources (links, readings, videos) on the difference as well as how they relate to each other. I have posted the NGSS standards below and hope that someone would be able to help us with the basics in understanding these concepts since the resources that we have been provided far exceed our understanding. Is there anyone out there that can help us?
MS-PS2-3 Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.

Jul 24 2018 - 7:29pm

caroline.wood's picture

Aloha Randall,

Thanks for reaching out. These are definitely difficult concepts to grapple with, so our team will compile some resources and return with some collective ideas!

Jul 25 2018 - 4:04pm
sbrown's picture

From our friends at the 2018 Oʻahu Pilina Program and Moku o Loʻe Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology!!

A PDE3 opportunity for middle and high school teachers!

Teachers Professional Development Workshop
Resilience Education & Action: Our Place in a Changing World
July 21 -23, 2018

Download the flyer here:

pyerxa's picture

Aloha #edwinjcolon
I am looking to set up a reusable kit to make solar cars, wind powered cars, battery powered cars, etc. We will be using cardboard and our own supplies for the body. I just want to order a good gear set (w/ different sizes), axles, & motors that are a pretty good size to get them going fast. The reason I don't order the Solarmade kits again is that they are not that reusable and there's not a good selection of gears + the gears break down a lot.
I am at looking for these things but am unsure of the proper motors to order. I see a cheap bulk pack for solar cells. I have some questions if you have time to help me with them:

May 23 2018 - 1:51pm

edwinjcolon's picture

Aloha @pyerxa

Pitsco has a good starter kit for solar cars that includes Solar panels, motors, multiple gears sizes, axels, wheels, 3V battery holders and accessories for 15 or 30 students. Here is the link:

If you already have a set of solar panels, this is a more budget-friendly bundle:,-Clubs,-and-Programs/Junior-Solar-Sp...

With either of these kits, you will need to buy the motor mounts separately. This is an option:

Let me know if this is what you are looking for or if you need more help.



May 23 2018 - 3:04pm
MWeinhouse's picture

Aloha Edwin,
I'm beginning my Waves chapter and was wondering if you had any info on the earthquakes on Hawaii island to tell me if there were current examples of P- and S- waves? Just thought I could tie the chapter into current events. On another topic, I am ready to send back the equipment I borrowed. Can you tell me how to do that? I would normally send you an email but my school email is down.....UGH! Thanks again for all you do.

May 21 2018 - 7:04pm

MWeinhouse's picture

Oops! Just saw the Earthquakes link above. I think the simulation will be perfect!! You read my mind!

May 21 2018 - 7:06pm
edwinjcolon's picture

Aloha Kapua,

I'm glad you found the earthquake resources link on our page. Also, I want to share a few links related to the last major earthquake on Big Island.

Magnitude 6.9 Big Island Hawaii earthquake information:

This page includes a teachable moment presentation package which included a nice visualization of how the waves from this earthquake propagated through the planet.

Aditional info:

IRIS website:

Latest earthquakes worldwide:

Iris earthquake browser (Hawaii):

I hope you find this useful.



May 22 2018 - 10:21am

See the rest of the Leaves...