STEM Programs

Lake Havasu high School Teachers: Chessa Frei and Stefani Chase

The LHHS STEM Club is happy to announce that we are now a tax credit recognized club! We have been working hard this year preparing for both the Arizona State High School Science Olympiad as well as our local elementary Science Olympiad that we co-host each year. After an exciting presentation during a pep assembly mid-year, we had enough participants to take two teams to compete in Tempe this April for the HS Olympiad. We had nine top-ten finishes in 23 events including a 4th place finish in Mousetrap Vehicle and a 4th place finish in Herpetology. We have over two dozen high school students ready to assist in the Elementary Science Olympiad next week. They will be teaching in breakout sessions, scoring and judging events, and helping the participants and coaches throughout the day. Our team continues to be active in the citizen science research project, RECON, the Research and Education Collaborative Occultation Network, funded by the National Science Foundation.  We are one of 54 sites on the west coast who are tracking and recording objects in the Kuiper Belt as they occult, or eclipse, a distant star. Our scientist leads are measuring & mapping the size, shape, and speed of these asteroids while also looking for interesting features like moons or ring structures. We have two more observation campaigns scheduled before the end of the school year.

Oro Grande Elementary School Teacher: Stephanie Holmes

We have had many adventures in STEM so far this year! My goal is to expose students to the wide array of STEM fields out there, such as mechanical, structural, and material engineering, architecture, ecology, and biology to name a few. I incorporate the steps of the Engineering Design Process in what we do. Some examples of projects we have done:  we designed and built wind turbine blades, parachutes and skis, participated in a mock oil spill cleanup, worked on architecture to withstand earthquakes, designed bird beaks based on adaptations in nature, and explored hoop gliders/paper airplanes. I first give the students all the background information they need. Then I step back and let them learn by doing. I ask questions but do not give them solutions-those they must come up with themselves or give each other advice. Students learn that failure is a part of the process and that you learn from it. The students can tell you that the only time you fail is if you do not try!

Havasupai Elementary School Teacher: Julie Johnson

Havasupai offers unique opportunities for all 5th and 6th grade students to participate in Science and STEM based learning on a daily basis through our rotation schedule.  In addition to daily exposure to science education for all of our 5th and 6th grade students,  Havasupai runs an after school STEM Club that targets 5th an 6th grade students that have expressed a strong interest in STEM education.  With over 100 hours of professional development in STEM Education, I am able to effectively implement and engage all my students in science and engineering practices that provide them with learning opportunities that support essential skills like critical thinking, problem solving and inquiry. Listed below are just a few examples of the STEM experiences provided for our students throughout this school year.

1. Our Annual Science and Engineering Fair includes grades K-6.  All grade levels participate in some complicity. 5th and 6th grade events included STEM based projects like designing a pair of shoes, building a bungee jump thrill ride, creating super spinners, and designing a Rube Goldberg Energy Machine.  All of the events push students to develop, design, create, test, and improve their prototypes based on specific constraints and maintain a building budget.

2.  Each year all of our 6th grade students participate in a Mountain Rescue Litter Basket STEM challenge where they are tasked with creating a prototype rescue basket designed to rescue an injured victim (potato) from an off trail location.  Teams compete on an outdoor obstacle course as they try to rescue the victim in a safe and timely matter.  This challenge includes: research, budgeting, planning, designing, creating, testing, improving, evaluating, data collection, data analysis, graphing, drawing conclusions, and communicating results.

3.  The implementation of teaching with a phenomenon has been a great opportunity for all my science students.  Phenomenon teaching allows student to make observations about an event that occurs naturally in the world and try to determine how and why.  It also gives students an opportunity to develop their own questions about the phenomenon and plan an experiment or build a model to help prove their theory about the event. Teaching with phenomenon also involves investigative writing as students draw a lot of conclusions based on evidence. This year for example students looked at bio-dome models ( closed mason jar) with water, plants, and snails sealed tight inside.  The big questions is how can living things survive in a closed system.  

4.  Our after school STEM Club has participated in the following activities:  reverse engineering, technical drawings, catapult design, coding and cipher discs, robotics,  chemical reactions, and basic engineering practices.


Thunderbolt Middle School Teacher: Sam Peer

Thunderbolt Middle School has spent their first year of STEM Club with some interesting and creative projects. Students spent Quarter 2 researching the different traits that animals possess in order to eat and protect themselves. Using this research, they took different traits from different animals to create their own three-dimensional species. Quarter 3 was spent making “Scale Cities.” Students researched the size of different buildings required to have a functional city and used a calculated scale to design and make their own paper cities. Quarter 4 has been spent researching their own science topic and creating a board game so that they can spend their last couple meetings learning new science topics while playing games.

Nautilus Elementary School Teacher: Amy DePuydt

Stem Club at Nautilus started out the year with robot coding.  We worked really hard building our robots and coding them for demonstration at ASU.  This was very challenging for the students and the teacher because we had to learn as we went along in this uncharted territory.

We worked on a few engineering challenges such as designing the longest paper chain with a single piece of paper, building cereal boxes from a flat piece of paper, and creating a container for an egg made just of straws to withstand throwing.  We built a marshmallow\spaghetti tower in preparation for ASU Olympiad. The students worked on a few projects involving Chemistry dissolving Halloween candy in different substances and making bath bombs for Valentine’s Day. The last part of the school year will be spent in preparation for the Science Olympiad.  Students have been assigned tasks and must research their event to prepare for competition.  There are 5 main events and the day ends in a pentathlon.

Jamaica Elementary School Teacher: Jamie Thuneman

Jamaica Elementary School’s STEM Club had another amazing year! Twenty-five 5th and 6th grade students participated in weekly team-building and problem-solving STEM projects that focused on real-life situations to help the student learn and discover that science is everywhere in the world around us. Our projects included:

  • Researching, growing, and maintaining an aeroponic Tower Garden

  • Planting and maintaining outdoor school garden boxes

  • Scratch Coding

  • School-wide STEM Outreach Program ~ Dr. Seuss STEM Day with 1st Grade

  • Engineering Design with LittleBit Kits

  • Lego Robotics

  • ASU’s Science Olympiad

  • Organizing and participating in our schools STEM Expo

K-12 Foundation is dedicated to supporting STEM education in K-12 schools because it strongly believes STEM education plays a significant role in better preparing students for the challenges (and opportunities) they will encounter after graduating. According to the Arizona STEM Network, STEM education “engages students and equips them with critical thinking, problem solving, creative and collaborative skills, and ultimately establishes connections between the school, work place, community and the global economy”. The K-12 Foundation has partnered with ASU and 20/20 on Stem programs.


K-12 Foundation presented a check in support of the Science Olympiad in 2019. This is the Foundation’s 4th year sponsoring the event. The Science Olympiad gives elementary school students the opportunity to engage in STEM activities and competition. L-R: K-12 Board members, Dr. Michael Rosen, Amy Sugamele,——, ASU Professor, Ryan Nangreave, K-12 Board members Jana Stump, Monica Hall and Chriten Mann.

STEM check.jpg

K-12 Foundation presented a check in support of the Science Olympiad in 2018. The Science Olympiad gives elementary school students the opportunity to engage in STEM activities and competition. L-R: K-12 Board members, Stephanie Martin, Nawal Atassi, Amy Sugamele, Chris Dimambro and ASU Professor, Ryan Nangreave.

Check Presentaiton_Science Olympiad.JPG

K-12 Foundation presented a check in support of the Science Olympiad in 2017. The Science Olympiad gives elementary school students the opportunity to engage in STEM activities and competition. L-R: K-12 Board members, Marquita McKnight, Gail Malay, ASU Professor, Ryan Nangreave, K-12 Board member Monica Hall.