Grayhawk, Cocopah teachers win STEM grants from APS, Phoenix Suns

A view of Cocopah Middle School. (Submitted photo)

Teachers from across Arizona, including two from Scottsdale, will receive grants from the Arizona Public Service and Phoenix Suns STEM mini-grant program at an upcoming Suns games.

Michelle Lindstrom of Grayhawk Elementary School and Marcia DeMuro of Cocopah Middle School will each receive $2,500 grants to fund a pair of STEM-related projects that will impact 421 students at Grayhawk and 180 at Cocopah, according to a press release.

At Grayhawk, the money will fund a project called Full STEAM ahead. This will feature four specialist teachers (STEM, music, band and visual arts) teaming up for multiple collaborative projects that have real-world applications.

Those projects include engineering solar ovens to produce conglomerate, melted crayon blocks and using recycled materials to construct working musical instruments after learning the physics of sound.

At Cocopah, the grant will help sixth grade beginning STEM students design architectural models and bring them to life with the use of Hummingbird Bit controllers.

This project helps students build a 3D model that can support its weight and that of the Hummingbird pieces using mathematical concepts of scale, technology standard of knowledge constructor, and engineering.

For 13 years, the Suns and APS have teamed up to provide financial grants to help Arizona teachers bring innovative hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning to tens of thousands of students throughout the state, a release states.

This year, 28 K-12 teachers across Arizona received grants totaling more than $48,000.

The grants will fund a wide-range of STEM-related projects, including robotics, gardening, sustainable art, computer coding and even designing and constructing a mini-Mars rover.

The mission of the mini-grants program is to introduce more students to STEM subjects in a new and innovative way through hands-on classroom projects, ultimately resulting in a more tech-savvy workforce.

“This partnership enables Arizona teachers to bring their creative ideas to life in ways that will inspire students to explore science and technology,” John Hatfield, APS vice president of communications, said in a prepared statement.

“These teachers are providing students with experiences that could ignite their curiosity and create a lifelong passion for learning.”

Together, APS and the Phoenix Suns have awarded more than $600,000 in grants to kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers in public and charter schools in the APS service territory.

“Thanks to the STEM mini-grant program, our students will have the opportunity to take part in science experiments that otherwise would not be possible — projects like launching a weather balloon into Earth’s stratosphere,” Pinnacle High School science teacher and STEM mini-grant recipient Mike Vargas said in a prepared statement.

The 2018 recipients will be recognized at a Phoenix Suns game in late December for their commitment to innovating how students learn and engage with STEM subjects.

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