Arizona has a number of educators who inspire students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). APS and the Phoenix Suns have teamed up to help these teachers bring innovative hands-on STEM learning to 6,000-plus students through financial grants totaling $50,000.
The grants were recently awarded to 25 elementary and high school teachers across Arizona—including three in North Central Phoenix. These grants will be used by teachers to provide a wide range of STEM-related content, including robotics, gardening, water harvesting, computer coding and even designing and building classroom furniture.
In the Phoenix Union High School District, both BioScience High School and Metro Tech High School received grants. At BioScience, the $2,500 will be used to help students examine the efficiency and accessibility of alternative fuels, specifically focusing on bio-diesel coming from algae lipids. They will grow and cultivate the algae and extract lipids to create bio-diesel. At Metro Tech, which received $1,500, students will partner with area nonprofits to use design software, woodworking, welding, plasma cutting, and laser engraving to create and build obstacle courses to train future police and fire cadets, an amphitheater for students, a gift shop display area (shelving, storage, lockable cases), therapy play devices for autistic children, and medical carts for medical assistants.
Also receiving a grant, valued at $740, was Madison Heights Elementary School, where students focusing mostly on engineering skills will design and create a plane by learning about the science of aerodynamics, while also learning the main parts of an airplane along with the function of those parts. The ultimate goal is to build a plane that can sustain flight.
“These grants are relatively small, but they can make a big difference to a teacher with an innovative idea on how to get students interested in math and science. This year’s applications were especially creative,” said John Hatfield, APS Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs. “These programs are so important because many of the best jobs in Arizona’s economic future will require technical skills.”
For the past 12 years, APS and the Phoenix Suns have partnered to promote STEM education in Arizona schools by annually awarding $50,000 in mini-grants for hands-on projects focused on STEM subjects. The grants were available to all kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers in public and charter schools in APS service territories. The funds support inventive, student-based projects aimed at sparking students’ curiosity and getting them excited about STEM subjects.