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i-STEM at College of Western Idaho

Step up to STEM, i-STEM 2023i-STEM is a summer professional development opportunity for educators (PK-12) working in both classroom and informal settings. 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 in January 2024. 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.

2024 Theme and Information coming soon!

i-STEM 2023 was Step up to STEM: Increasing Integration

College of Western IdahoParticipants were encouraged to attend i-STEM with colleagues from their own school, district or organization so they could learn together, share ideas and collaboratively implement what they had learned.

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.

Status: Closed

Fees for 2024: $50, 25% discount for group registrations

Eligible Applicants: All educators – formal and informal

2024 Funding Schedule

Open: February 5, 2024
Close: March 15, 2024
Award date: April 1, 2024

i-STEM Dates for CWI: 
June 2024

PD Credits: PD credit is available for participation in this program.

College of Western Idaho
Nampa Campus Micron Education Center
5725 E Franklin Rd
Nampa, ID 83687
Map and Directions

2023 Strands

* Indicates this strand is appropriate for informal educators.

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

Water Science Investigations and AwarenessLead Instructor: James Ekins
Assistant Instructor: Rick Reynolds

Keywords: water science, IDAH2O, Project WET, Crayfish

Strand Description: This strand combines three award-winning interrelated investigative science learning programs. Participants will earn three certifications: IDAH2O Master Water Stewards, TRM Crayfish and Freshwater Ecosystems, and Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), the first two being citizen science programs. Entirely interactive classroom sessions each morning will build to daily afternoon hands-on, place-based investigation of water quality and freshwater ecosystems in nearby natural areas.

Your kits will/may include: The official IDAH2O Master Water Stewards water quality monitoring kit. It contains everything a citizen scientist or teacher needs to complete a full IDAH2O stream or pond assessment. Teachers can use the kit for water science investigations. The rest of the kit can be reused indefinitely. Many more items to list!

Energy Flows Where SySTEM Thinking GoesLead Instructor: DaNel Hogan
Assistant Instructor: Denise Humphreys

Keywords: physical science, energy, systems thinking, electricity, energy efficiency

Strand Description: Join us in using the Habits and tools of systems thinking to explore modern energy sources, the science of electrical generation, the wonders of wireless electricity, negawatts as a measure of energy conservation, and solutions to future energy challenges. Beyond getting a boatload of classroom materials and hands-on experience in how to use them effectively, you’ll gain first-hand knowledge of how formative assessment probes can surface and address science misconceptions. You’ll also practice using performance task assessments with 3-dimensional science instruction to assess how students are using the science and engineering practices to make sense of the world. Slow reveal graphs, ladders of inference, behavior over time graphs, and other innovative tools will ensure you walk away from this strand with a better understanding of energy systems and grids, and an even wider range of pedagogical strategies to inspire your students to wonder, achieve, and make sense of any sySTEM. And we promise to bring the pHun (the proper physics and chemistry spelling of the word fun)!

Your kits will/may include: With support from i-STEM and industry partners Idaho Power and Intermountain Gas, teachers will be receiving kits worth more than $600. The kits include three books and a systems thinker starter kit along with classroom sets of equipment and supplies to teach about electromagnetism, circuits, energy efficiency, and static electricity.

Addressing Literacy Using Inquiry-based Science ActivitiesLead Instructor: Kristine Ablin-Stone
Assistant Instructor: Cindy Currie

Keywords: biology, chemistry, environmental science, agriculture

Strand Description: Scientific literacy and critical thinking are components of science education that prepare students to think and function as responsible citizens. In this strand, participants will engage in ten inquiry-based science activities that help build reading, writing, mathematical, and science literacy skills. Some of the skills that will be addressed include reading and understanding science articles, designing and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting numerical data, making inferences based on data collected, writing scientific explanations, and communicating science. Biology, chemistry, physical science, and environmental science will be addressed while covering the following topics:

  • Photosynthesis and cellular respiration
  • Classification and identification of microorganisms
  • Effects of chemicals like caffeine on heart rate
  • Factors affecting enzymes
  • Bird surveys on school campuses
  • Density of regular and irregular shaped objects
  • Intra- and intermolecular forces affecting molecules
  • Endothermic and exothermic reactions
  • Effect of water pollutants on eutrophication
  • Measuring water quality

Your kits will/may include: Your kit will include the following: Thumb Drive with handouts and PowerPoints; Microscope slides with grid lines for counting cells/organisms; Algae culture for using with Eutrophication lab; Water molecular kits to help illustrate Intramolecular Forces; Insulated Coffee Cups with Thermometer for measuring endo and exothermic reactions; Workbook with activities; Electronic Balance; and LaMott Water Quality Kit.

FIRST LEGO League and using LEGO SPIKE or MINDSTORMS in the classroomLead Instructor: Kelsey Margulieux
Assistant Instructor: Lisa Lalliss-Skogsberg

Keywords: robotics, FIRST LEGO League, scratch-based coding, building LEGO robots, LEGO SPIKE Prime kits, LEGO EV3 kits

Strand Description: FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a platform to introduce students aged 9-14 years old to robotics, including building a robot out of LEGOs and coding in a scratch-based language, while delving into a research project and learning core values such as teamwork and inclusion. This strand will introduce teachers to FIRST LEGO League Challenge and provide hands-on experience with building and programming LEGO robots as they tackle actual FLL missions. Participants who know they want to coach an FLL team for the upcoming school year are encouraged to recruit their coaching partners into the same strand.

Your kits will/may include: Two participants who join intending to coach an FLL team together will receive 1 LEGO SPIKE Prime Kit for their team. Other participant kits may vary depending on additional funding but will be designed to be helpful in starting an FLL team.

Build, Create, and InnovateLead Instructor: Amber McVey
Assistant Instructor: Heidi Warren

Keywords:  hands-on, low-cost STEM activities for educators

Strand Description: Do you struggle to incorporate STEM into your daily lessons? Is coming up with low-cost, high-interest activities challenging? This strand will walk you through ways to reuse and re-purpose low-cost items to get the maximum output. You will build, create, and innovate as you explore STEM in activities and lessons focused on providing students with engaging, collaborative STEM opportunities.

Your kits will/may include: Build, Create, and Innovate comes with a 3D printer, planks, make-do, and a variety of hands-on material for STEM centers.

The Discovery of DataLead Instructor: Brenda Young
Assistant Instructor: Troy Young

Keywords: sensors, data, hands-on experiments

Strand Description: We are surrounded by data. It is in the air that we breathe, the sun on our face, the links we click, the cars we drive, and the media we view. The world is now powered by data, and the earlier we can introduce students to collecting, visualizing, and applying data in their lives the more comfortable and prepared they will be for future success. This strand will engage educators from grades 4-8 with simple-to-use sensors that enable students to physically interact with live data doing exciting, engaging, hands-on activities. Educators will learn how to enhance their existing science curriculum with live sensor activities that expose students to data collection, visualization, and analysis, a core NGSS practice. All participants will walk away with two multi-sensor devices, a number of easy-to-execute activities, and a customized plan to take these new methods back to their classroom.

Your kits will/may include: Each kit for this strand will include 2 databot™ 2.0 multi-sensor devices, temperature probes, soft storage case, charging and programming cables as well as simple science materials such as balloons, baking soda, and vinegar, and full access to the library of databot™ lessons, activities, and how-to guides.

Embedded Systems - Physical Computing and Programming with the Micro:bitLead Instructor: Todd Anderson
Assistant Instructor: Ed Atienza

Keywords: coding, embedded systems, Internet of Things (IoT), microcomputer, engineering, physical computing, Bluetooth, Micro:bit

Strand Description: Participants will be introduced to embedded system development with the Micro:bit physical computing platform. Embedded systems connect small computing platforms with hardware such as light sensors, motion sensors, LED displays, and communications to collect data and control processes. Embedded systems are the basis for Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics. This strand will focus on what the Micro:bit is, how it is programmed, and how it can be used to foster both an engagement in STEM learning as well as the application of the design process. Those participating in this strand will program and build a variety of projects such as a Magic 8-ball, a digital thermometer, and a digital pet. The Micro:bit could be used in any content area, and we will brainstorm some possible applications as we gain familiarity with, and competency using, this accessible computing platform. Students can become better computational thinkers as they break down big problems into the parts necessary to create an amazing project using the Micro:bit, or other embedded system platforms such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Participants will be able to introduce their students to educational tracks and career tracks that will enable their students to continue to integrate embedded systems into real world applications.

Your kits will/may include: Micro:bit v2 Go Bundle (each kit will include 16 of these)

Extending the Code to Support 3-5 EducatorsLead Instructor: Nicole Sarty
Assistant Instructor: Gina Kwid

Keywords: ready hands-on coding

Strand Description: This strand equips educators with the materials, knowledge, and tools they need to integrate coding and computer science concepts into the upper elementary classroom. Educators will learn how to teach with micro:bits and use the Idaho Content Standards for Computer Science to develop coding skills, lessons, and confidence to facilitate year-long coding and computer science lessons in the classroom. Educators will learn to connect computer science to core content instruction to maximize the use of classroom instructional time. While this course is geared toward teachers working with students in grades 3-5, it is a great resource for teachers of all grades looking to introduce students to coding, physical computing, and computer science concepts. Educators will leave with resources and knowledge to integrate and implement their own coding and computer science programs and lessons in their classrooms and schools.

Your kits will/may include: The participant will receive micro:bits, alligator clips, copper tape, LED bulbs, and a storage case to store them all in addition to a book or two.

IROAM: STEM on the RangeLead Instructor: Gretchen Hyde

Keywords: rangeland, sagebrush, wildlife habitat, outdoor education

Strand Description: This strand will engage participants in an outdoor adventure of Idaho’s largest ecosystem—rangeland. The Idaho Rangeland Outdoor Adventure Mobile (IROAM) provides an interactive, cross-curricular, immersive educational experience. This place-based educational curriculum is designed by Idaho rangeland professionals and teachers to inspire them to become good stewards of the land. IROAM introduces students to the wild open spaces surrounding most Idaho communities and integrates rangeland ecology, wildlife habitat, wildfire, management techniques, and the abundant STEM career opportunities. A field trip to the Owyhee’s will allow you to learn from rangeland professionals and utilize your skills and knowledge.

Your kits will/may include: Your kit will/may include classroom sets of books, materials, lessons, and interactive resources. The IROAM tent or trailer will be available to you and your students upon completion of this course.

Drones IILead Instructor: Dr. Sonia Galaviz

Keywords: drones, STEM, coding

Strand Description: Drones are transforming the world of arts and entertainment, performing alongside artists as diverse as Metallica, Drake and Cirque du Soleil. In the Drone Designers curriculum, students follow in the footsteps of the world’s groundbreaking drone designers to costume, choreograph and code tiny aerial robots in creative performances. This Second Edition of Drone Designers includes the CoDrone EDU, the newest educational drone that can be coded in both Blockly and Python. Whether you’re a long-time drone educator looking for the next step or an ambitious first-timer ready to dive in, this course will provide insight from experienced educators on successful methods for implementing drone curriculum with upper elementary and middle school-aged students. 

Your kits will/may include: Five CoDrone EDU mini drones and comprehensive curriculum resources for 12 one-hour lessons.

IDX: Engineering Solutions with 3D Design and Fabrication StrandLead Instructor: Renee Watterson
Assistant Instructor: Branden Severe

Keywords: Engineering, Design, STEM

Strand Description: This strand provides educators with extensive hands-on experience to develop a solid foundation in 3D design and fabrication. Educators are prepared to engage with learners utilizing the engineering design process and equip them with the practical, technical, and creative skills needed to engage with real-world problems of today and tomorrow. Participants can use their 3D printers to continue developing ways to incorporate design and printing with Idaho content standards and cross-cutting concepts. Educators will learn skills to be able to bring a team to an IDX showcase, which is typically held in Pocatello, Boise, and Moscow in March.

Your kits will/may include: A 3D printer, 3D Printer Toolkit, Spool of filament, Filament Dry Box, and Digital Calipers. These resources provide educators with the tools necessary to compete in the IDX Student Showcase, as well as incorporate 3D design/printing into their learning environments.

PDF Syllabus


i-STEM 2023: Step up to STEM-Increasing Integration

Course Syllabus – Summer 2023

COURSE HOURS: 1 credit (Course B) or 2 credits (Course A)

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: July 15, 2023, midnight MST

Location and Course Dates.

  • In Person Training at one of the i-STEM Institutes:
    • Lewis-Clark State College June 12-15, 2023 8am-4pm
    • College of Western Idaho June 13-16, 2023 8am-4pm
    • Idaho State University June 14-17, 2023 8am-4pm
    • College of Southern Idaho June 20-23, 2023 8am-4pm
    • North Idaho College June 20-23, 2023 8am-4pm
    • College of Eastern Idaho June 20-23, 2023 8am-4pm
  • Final Survey Due: July 15, 2023

Course Cost: 1 credit: $60 / 2 credits: $120

Instructor Email: Katie Bosch-Wilson,, 208-332-1727

COURSE DESCRIPTION: i-STEM is a four day professional development institute focused on STEM education. This year’s theme is Step up to STEM-Increasing Integration. General sessions during the institute will focus on how to develop successful partnerships within participants’ organizations and communities to further STEM education for their students. Participants will attend workshops that cover science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) content within a project-based learning framework and learn how the content is applicable to local interests. Participants will network with one another, hear from keynote speakers and go on field trips.


  1. Participants will demonstrate an understanding of project-based learning in the context of STEM education.
  2. Participants will learn how to read, understand, and incorporate state content standards into their teaching.
  3. Participants will learn about a specific STEM topic and receive a kit of materials to implement what they have learned into their teaching practice.


  1. Educators will attend all four days of an i-STEM Institute (36 hrs).
  2. Educators will submit a final survey via the Community Grants Portal (

FINAL ASSIGNMENT DUE DATE: July 15, 2023 by midnight MST via the Community Grants Portal.


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