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Bev Berns

March 2021 Teacher Update

STEM Scale-Up Applications Now Open


  • Educator application period: January 11 – March 5
  • Review period: March/April
  • Awardees notified: April 9
  • Training: Summer
  • Implementation: July 1 – May 31

To learn more about the STEM Scale-Up program, visit

  • Check out the 2021-2022 options: Program Menu 
  • Application requirements:
  • Organizations providing the programs on the 2021-22 Scale-Up menu will be hosting a number of Information Sessions for educators to learn more about their respective programs. 
    • CLICK HERE to access the dates and times for each information session


STEM Experiences for the Early Childhood Classroom

HomeTeachers are most effective when they facilitate the development of children's ability to reason rather than focusing primarily on rote memorization and following directions. This demands teachers design and engineer educational experiences and classroom environments that are tailored to their children's specific needs and interests.

Linked below are experiences early childhood teachers can download to explore how they can begin to facilitate children's reasoning in STEM, literacy, and self-regulation. These experience sheets are helpful to teachers who are exploring how they can arrange their environment and interact with their children to deepen their learning by engaging in authentic problem-solving. The resources also include infant and toddler activities!

STEM Experiences for the Early Childhood Classroom

Eastern Iowa STEM Goes RED virtual event

PAEMST 2021 cycle is now open!  

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K–12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. Anyone—principals, teachers, parents, students, or members of the general public—may nominate exceptional STEM teachers who are currently teaching grades 7–12 for the 2020–2021 award year. Teachers may also apply directly at The nomination deadline is March 1, 2021, and the application deadline is April 1, 2021, for secondary teachers (grades 7–12). Elementary teachers (grades K–6) will be eligible to apply during a future cycle.

Life cycles of "stuff" courses  

In the February 16-March 23 and the June 8-July 13 100% online AEA courses, The Secret Lives of “Stuff,” you will explore powerful classroom-ready lessons, activities, videos and readings. You'll also engage with other educators in idea-sharing. In Module 1, consider what’s important to you. Then, examine waste and the life cycles of "stuff," such as t-shirts and water bottles. From there, analyze ways you and your students can conserve resources and live more sustainably...MORE at

Equity and Inclusion in Environmental Education: Free webinars and learning modules.  

A free webinar series and self-paced online learning modules on equity and inclusion in environmental education are available to all educators. Zoom sessions and interactive modules include high quality teaching resources and tactics that improve access for all students. Presentations are scheduled mid-January through February 2021.  Visit the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition website for more information.

AEA Science Networking Sessions 

Zoom networking sessions will be facilitated by AEA Science Consultants and are being held to provide networking opportunities for science teachers across the state. Sessions will focus on best practices and the needs and interests of the participants in attendance.  March 1 - Topic: Science Classroom Management/Strategies. Click here to Register for the March session.

State Science and Technology Fair

The State Science and Technology Fair is going virtual this year for both junior and senior high researchers! This is a great time to get your students started on their research! Visit the website for additional information.

Research experience for teachers  

The RET is a National Science Foundation funded opportunity that provides teachers with research experiences and ongoing relationships with career scientists on the Iowa State University campus. With grant support from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, the Office of Biotechnology is extending the opportunity to high school and middle school teachers from Iowa and beyond.  If you are a STEM teacher with at least one year of teaching experience, able to work virtually this summer for 4 weeks, eager to enhance your content knowledge and earn $900.00 a week this program might be for you! Apply here by March 31st.

IowaPBS Phenomenon Project  

In Summer 2020, as part of the statewide effort to support K12 teachers as well as outdoor educators, Iowa PBS convened a work group of educator volunteers to help identify professional development needs related to phenomena-based instruction for Iowa outdoor educators. As a result of input from these educators, Iowa PBS is excited to share the “Outdoor Educator Resources to Support Phenomena-Based Education”. This free, online guide includes information developed specifically for outdoor educators. The Iowa Science Phenomena website is a curated collection of user-generated Iowa-specific phenomena, particularly those which represent locally-relevant or unique concepts. If you have questions about this resource or if you would like to learn how you can contribute to the Iowa Science Phenomena project, please contact Iowa PBS Project Coordinator, Tiffany Morgan (

Iowa Energy Curriculum for Secondary Classrooms

The University of Northern Iowa received funding from the Iowa Energy Center to develop and disseminate an energy curriculum for Iowa secondary students.  They are seeking applications from Iowa secondary teachers to be members of the curriculum development team.  This multi-year project will begin with a curriculum development workshop (either on-campus or remotely if necessary) in summer 2021 (June 21-25), followed by curriculum editing performed remotely in July 2021.  The ideal candidates will be able to participate in an additional workshop in summer 2022, field test the materials, and assist with dissemination of the final curriculum.

ISTS 2021 Spring Conference

The conference theme is Science Teaching and Collaborating in Unprecedented Times. Perhaps now more than ever, we are excited to be able to come together with colleagues from around the state to share strategies and successes, tips for virtual or in-person teaching, collaborating, surviving, and thriving in the midst of a pandemic. More importantly, we hope this conference will be an opportunity to connect, support one another, and reenergize. 

We hope eliminating costs, the virtual format, and amended meeting times will allow us to best serve as many Iowa science teachers as possible in these trying times. Please share with your colleagues from around the state.