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Blog: Science and STEAM



Welcome to the Science and STEAM Blog! Here, you will find ideas to inspire your Next Generation Science Standards implementation as well as STEAM connections for the classroom. We will also showcase student events happening in the Keystone area and, of course, professional development opportunities!




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December 2021

Nominate a K-6 STEM Teacher Today!

Nominate a colleague or yourself for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST): the nation's highest honors for teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM, including computer science). This year's awards will honor teachers of the above disciplines working in grades K-6. 

  • Nominations (including self-nominations) close on January 7, 2022.  
  • Applications for K-6 grade teachers are now open and must be completed by February 6, 2022.

Contact for questions.


OpenSciEd Professional Learning Dates Announced

Iowa’s AEA’s are offering professional development opportunities for the publicly released OpenSciEd units, which are freely available high-quality Open Education Resources for grades 6-8. The mission of OpenSciEd is to give teachers the materials, support, and power to get kids excited and curious about the world around them and confident in their ability to figure it out through questioning, investigating, and solving problems. 

More information and registration links


Ambitious Science Teaching Book Study

Join us for the Implementing Ambitious Science Teaching Book Study! In this course, we will focus on the second part of the book (you do not have to have read the first part of the book to join!). We will focus on supporting student thinking and sensemaking as well as scientific argument.

Click here to register for the course


Iowa's Geological Resources Workshop for Teachers

Earn two units of graduate credit and learn about Iowa's geological resources through an activity-based short course (EARTHSCI 6233 Iowa's Geological Resources for Teachers) through the University of Northern Iowa.

This year's focus: Economic geology and it's importance to society through STEM, Iowa Core / NGSS standards and local resources. 

The course begins with an online component in the spring to prepare you for the hands-on workshop visiting various geological sites and preparing curricular materials in July.

  • Develop rock and mineral collections while obtaining a basic proficiency in their identification.
  • Focus on the significance of these items in understanding and interpreting Earth’s history and the geology of Iowa.
  • Learn the various economic and environmental aspects of Iowa geology.

Register before February 16th! The class size is limited to 10 participants. Please apply early to reserve your seat.

More information and registration link

Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council Expands STEM BEST® Program to Focus on High Demand Jobs


The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council has received a special appropriation from the Iowa Legislature to dramatically expand the STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Program to help prepare students to enter job sectors that are in high demand. The STEM BEST H.D. (High Demand) Program is designed to prepare students for the workforce by providing awards of up to $40,000 to develop a curriculum focused on skills needed in job sectors such as computer science/information technology, health professions, and advanced manufacturing.

The STEM BEST H.D. Program will help build partnerships between schools and businesses which allows educators and industry professionals to work together to develop curriculum and projects that prepare students for careers in these high-demand sectors.

The funds can be used for:

  • Facility upgrades
  • Purchase of industry-grade equipment
  • Acquiring additional space
  • Time for program planning with partners
  • Travel needs
  • Integrating curriculum into existing courses

The STEM BEST H.D. Program Request for Proposals will be posted on Monday, October 18. For more information on the STEM BEST H.D. Program, please visit


Nourishing Our Soil and Water Through Sustainable Agriculture Workshop

Environmental Issues Instruction and Upper Iowa University will offer Nourishing Our Soil and Water Through Sustainable Agriculture at the Sleep Inn in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, on February 25, 26, and 27, 2022. The update session will be on April 29 and 30, 2022. The registration fee is $275 and includes food, lodging, teaching materials, 2 graduate credits, and sub-grants for classroom projects. Contact Dr. Barbara Ehlers at for more information. The professional development is open to all educators PreK-14. Please share information with your colleagues.





Jason Martin-Hiner

Jason Martin-Hiner

School Improvement Facilitator

Bev Berns

School Improvement Facilitator