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i-STEM at College of Eastern Idaho

College of Eastern Idaho i-STEM Institute

ATTENTION! Due to COVID-19, i-STEM 2021 will take place online and run for three days instead of the typical four. We are maintaining the same theme and the majority of the same strands that were postponed from i-STEM 2020. Virtual i-STEM Institutes will take place over three-day intervals in June 2021. If you applied for i-STEM 2020, please do not reapply, this is for NEW 2021 applicants only. 2020 i-STEM participant should have received an email regarding strands. If you applied in 2020 and have not received an email, please reach out to

The i-STEM Institute at College of Eastern Idaho (CEI) in Idaho Falls will be held online from June 22-24, 2021. During the Institute, participants attend a strand on project-based, hands-on learning in a chosen content area, as well as general sessions tied to the Institute theme. Strand topics vary by location and can be accessed at the Institute links below. Each participant will receive a kit of instructional materials unique to their strand, so that they can implement what they have learned in their own teaching environments. This professional development opportunity is open to formal and informal educators.

i-STEM Logo 2021

Participants are encouraged to attend i-STEM with colleagues from their own school, district or organization so that you can learn together, share ideas and collaboratively implement what you have learned.

**Please Note: Registration fees for i-STEM 2021 have been reduced to $40 for formal and informal public educators.

STEM AC is reaching out to businesses throughout the state to sponsor registration fees. We will reach out to you once you are accepted into the program and let you know if your registration fee is covered by a sponsor.

Your district may have funds to pay your registration fee to attend STEM AC PD opportunities. Learn more about Title 4 funding here and talk to your local administrator for guidance.

Kit Distribution & Priority Placement: Kit pick-up for CEI will take place Monday, June 21. If you do not live within 35 miles of the site, your kit will be shipped to you at no cost. In an effort to minimize shipping costs and encourage local partnerships, priority for strand placement will be given to individuals for whom the Institute hosting the strand is their closest Institute. We will seek to fill CEI-based strands with applicants who have ranked the strand as their first choice and for whom CEI is their closest Institute, before awarding spots to individuals for whom CEI is not their closest Institute.

Have Questions?? Contact the i-STEM Coordinator, Finia Dinh, at

Status: Closed

Fee: $40 for formal and informal public educators serving Idaho PreK-12 students ($1000 for private school, home school, retired, non-Idaho, and vendor/for-profit educators.)

Eligible Applicants: All educators (see fee amounts) - NEW APPLICANTS ONLY

Training Dates:
June 22-24, 2021

Funding Schedule:
Open: March 10, 2021*
Close: March 23, 2021*
Award date: March 30, 2021*
Program Manager: Finia Dinh

*Late Submissions Open Now! These dates are only for new applicants. Those who already applied for 2020 do not have to reapply.

College of Eastern Idaho
Health Care Education Building
1600 S 25th E
Idaho Falls, ID 83404
Map and Directions

Below is the complete line-up of strands for i-STEM 2021. Please be advised that priority for strand placement was being given to those individuals who applied and were accepted to i-STEM in 2020. As a result, certain strands are listed as "WAITLIST ONLY." All other strands have spots available.

* Indicates this strand is appropriate for informal educators.

Note: Kit contents and field trips are subject to change.

Strand Instructors: Zoe Jorgensen & Debra Beard

Keywords: STREAM Integrated Lessons, Idaho Earth Science Standards


Using STREAMpower StrandThis strand will provide participants the opportunity to explore the sciences of astronomy and space exploration through a cross-curricular and project-based approach. As we delve into topics including the Sun, the Moon, the Solar System, the stars, and space exploration, educators will learn pedagogical strategies for developing lessons that integrate science, technology, research, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Participants will create and learn to use a variety of models and investigations to explain scientific concepts that are too “big" to bring into a classroom. Participants will receive a kit of materials for constructing two- and three-dimensional astronomical models with their students, as well as a variety of books to make literature connections to science content. When meeting in person is safe, there will be an extra day of instruction that will include an experience with the StarLab portable planetarium and certification process to check-out and use the StarLab planetarium from the i-STEM resource center at the INL.

Strand Instructors: Sunny Katseanes & Alana Jensen

Keywords: STEAM, Zoo, Habitat, Conservation, Wildlife


Wildlife StrandWe know it’s up to humans to protect our planet and its inhabitants for the future, right? In reality, conservation is more complex than we realize. How can you help? During this strand, you’ll meet representatives from local and global agencies that are working with the Idaho Falls Zoo to support the world’s wildlife. You’ll be able to engage your students in developing hypotheses and conducting scientific observation in a fun and interesting way. You’ll learn about some of the challenges that interfere with conservation efforts such as invasive species. You’ll explore how adaptations and behavior are critical for species management and how this applies to some of the most endangered animal species. We’ll teach you how empathy plays a crucial role in encouraging people to be, or get involved with, conservation agents. We’ll do this by taking a commonly misunderstood group of animals, like bats, and show you why building bat houses can help not only the bats, but humans as well. You’ll also learn how zoo designers use STEAM to design animal exhibits that are not only beautiful for guests, but satisfy the diverse habitat and welfare needs of exotic animals. Finally, you’ll leave able to tell your students, families and friends what goes on behind the scenes at the Idaho Falls Zoo! In your kit, you’ll receive a wooden bat box design kit, a Lamotte water monitoring kit, an Erector Animatronix set and a guide book that will allow you to recreate for your students the experiences you have during this strand.

Strand Instructors: Karen Laitinen & Brad Gretch

Keywords: Energy, STEM, Physical Science/Physics, Math


3,2,1 Energize Strand3, 2, 1 Energize (4th-12th grades) your classroom with STEM lessons on work, power and energy. Energy is all around us; from morning to night, our lives are full of energy. Explore energy, work and power through toy design, solar power and wind power. Come join us for physics phun with energy. This strand is designed to help educators integrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math in the science classroom through hands-on, standards-aligned activities. Science concepts are introduced and reviewed in briefings and debriefing labs. The lab activities can be replicated in the classroom to engage students with technology and engineering design. Students will also learn the math principles needed to analyze collected data. Participants will experience classroom-ready STEM activities for energy, work and power. All activities are inquiry-based, incorporate design concepts and align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Idaho State Content Standards for energy science. Participants will take home an Energize kit with all the supplies to get them started, including lab materials, measurement tools, multimeter, plus supplies for building hovercrafts, roller coasters, spring cars and more!

Strand Instructor: Shelley Nash

Keywords: Math, STEAM, PBL


Too many of our students think math is boring or don’t believe they are "math people!”  But it doesn’t need to be this way! This strand will take you on a journey of joyful, creative mathematics so that you can take your students on a joyful journey as well. As you build, play, draw and challenge yourself, you’ll also deeply explore the Eight Mathematical Thinking Practices. These activities and practices together open the door for your students to see themselves as belonging in math. This strand is designed for educators of all levels, including special education; working with educators of all levels will help you develop a greater sense of your grade’s place in the overall picture of mathematics. By the end of this strand, you’ll be able to lead open-ended activities such as exploring origami and geometry, and combining art and mathematics. You’ll be comfortable teaching, encouraging, and evaluating the Eight Mathematical Thinking Practices. You’ll leave with ideas and tools to help your students be more engaged in mathematics, and above all, discover that math can be joyful and creative! Your kit contains manipulatives and art supplies for implementing all the activities done in the strand. There are also books containing resources and ideas for your grade level so that you can go back to your classroom and start making changes.

Strand Instructors: Erica Holdridge

Keywords: Biology, Ecology, Viruses, Health


Biology at Every ScaleWhat do viruses have to do with Earth’s carbon cycle? A lot, it turns out. This strand will explore how every scale of biology, from the smallest molecules to the flow of energy across the world, are all interconnected through the lens of viruses. Find out what exactly makes a virus a virus, the different ways in which they reproduce and spread, why they’re important for human health, economic and social services, and how these minuscule entities can have massive impacts on the way carbon moves through Earth’s ecosystems. You might even be surprised to find that some viruses can be beneficial. Participants in this strand will enjoy immersive virtual field trips to learn why waste water treatment facilities and the dairy industry are just as concerned with viruses as healthcare workers. Participants will leave with a variety of activities to bring back to their classrooms, including online apps that students can use to explore what controls virus population growth and spread as well as everything they need to let students culture human-safe viruses in their classroom and make these nearly-impossible-to-see microbes visible to the naked eye.

Strand Instructor: Sam Strother

Keywords: Early Childhood, Measurement, Mathematical Thinking, Spatial Reasoning


The Building Blocks of STEMThis strand will provide participants with engaging learning activities highlighting critical mathematical concepts for PK-2 students. Key developmental understandings of content such as place value, numeracy, problem solving, spatial reasoning, and measurement will be presented through active, hands-on learning experiences. The strand will feature practical examples from the field, so that participants are thoroughly informed on the effective implementation of each activity and strategy introduced. Participants will also engage with and discuss realistic teaching scenarios that relate to their topics of interest. This strand is led by facilitators from the Developing Mathematical Thinking Institute, who have helped schools across the country improve student engagement and achievement in math. You will leave this strand ready to set up your students with a strong foundation for lifelong achievement in math, identifying and remedying common learning difficulties along the way. You will also receive an electronic file of directions and resources to implement all the activities covered in the strand, as well as a classroom pack of early math manipulatives, including pattern blocks, counters, playing cards and more!

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