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i-STEM at College of Western Idaho

College of Western Idaho i-STEM InstituteATTENTION! Due to COVID-19 we made the difficult decision to postpone i-STEM 2020 to June 2021. Everything for i-STEM 2021 will be the same as it was intended for i-STEM 2020 – same theme, same general sessions, and majority of the same strands. All applicants for i-STEM 2020 WILL NOT have to reapply for i-STEM 2021. If you applied last year, we will reach out to you this winter about your application and strand choices. If you have not applied to participate in i-STEM, and would like to, please apply when the application opens (bottom of the page).

The Treasure Valley Institute (TViSTEM) at College of Western Idaho (CWI) in Nampa has been postponed until June 2021. Over these four days, participants attend a workshop strand, participate in general sessions with keynote speakers and network with other educators. Participants leave with a kit of materials related to the workshop strand they attend, ready to implement what they have learned into their teaching environments. This professional development opportunity is open to formal and informal educators.

i-STEM 2020

Participants are encouraged to attend i-STEM with colleagues from their own school, district or organization to work on building partnerships during workshop sessions.

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.

Travel Reimbursement

Travel will be reimbursed following the guidelines below. Distance is measured from the participant’s home to the closest i-STEM institute location. For example, if you live in Twin Falls but attend the institute in Pocatello, you will only be reimbursed for travel to College of Southern Idaho. Participants must attend all four days of the institute to receive travel reimbursement. Only public Idaho formal and informal educators are eligible for travel reimbursements.

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

Status: Closed

Fee: $50 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 APPLICATIONS ONLY

Training Dates:
June 2021

Funding Schedule:
Open: February 2, 2021*
Close: March 4, 2021*
Award date: April 2, 2021*
Program Manager: Finia Dinh

*These dates are only for new applicants. Those who already applied for 2020 do not have to reapply.

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

* Indicates this strand is appropriate for informal educators.

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

Strand Instructors: Amber McVey & Amber Obert

Keywords: Hands-on, Low-cost, STEM activities

Build, Create, Innovate StrandDescription:

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 new ways to provide students with engaging, collaborative STEM learning opportunities. Educators will be shown how to incorporate student notebooks, design challenges and differentiation to extend students’ abilities and assess their knowledge. We will work together to learn and apply the engineering design process across grade levels and to align activities to science content standards. Participants in this strand will receive a kit of materials and equipment for supporting awesome new learning opportunities for students in their classrooms, including a 3D printer, VR viewer, Makey-makey, Make-do set, wooden planks, Edison bot and more!

Strand Instructor: Maureen Seidel

Keywords: Technology integration, PBL classroom


H.A.C.K. Bootcamp StrandThe H.A.C.K. Model of Innovative Instruction is a systematic approach for K-12 teachers to integrate technology into their teaching practices. H.A.C.K. is designed to move a classroom from a Highly Structured environment to a student-centered environment where students take ownership and personalize their learning. Formed around Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy and Webb's Depth of Knowledge, the H.A.C.K. Model is a logical methodology to innovative practices that move student learning from a foundational level of knowledge to a more sophisticated understanding, enabling students to consistently analyze, evaluate and create information. The H.A.C.K. Model builds teacher capacity to become facilitators of learning and transfer ownership to their students. In this strand, teachers will explore resources and experience hands-on activities to help them successfully plan and implement new innovative practices in their classrooms. They will learn new platforms they can use to do a variety of tasks such as Canva, Adobe Spark, Gimkit and many more! This strand will also take a field trip to see an established project-based learning space where we'll do some Design Thinking! Kit contents will include a Sphero Mini Activity Kit and copies of The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros, Dive into Inquiry by Trevor MacKenzie and H.A.C.K. The Story of a Classroom Reborn by Eric Kellerer, Amy Ackley and Greg Russell.

Strand Instructor: Morgan Gifford

Keywords: Inquiry-based, Phenomena, Primary Grades, Guided Inquiry


iWONDER StrandiWONDER is centered around using inquiry as a driving force for engagement and problem solving in early elementary classrooms. In this session, educators will learn how natural phenomena can get young learners excited about science, and how to turn that excitement into powerful educational experiences through inquiry-based learning. During this strand, we will dive into the Idaho State Science Standards to provide resources for creating shorter but more meaningful opportunities to engage students in science concepts. Educators will also learn how to incorporate STEM design challenges and activities into primary classrooms in order to build engagement, solidify concepts and connect the four domains of STEM to early student learning. We will also discuss how to best assess the quality of student engagement and discussion through different types of inquiry-based learning experiences. This strand is perfect for educators who want to learn how to grab the attention of their K-2 students to provide them with explorative learning experiences and room to develop problem-solving abilities. Educators in this strand will receive a kit that includes a classroom set of materials required for several inquiry-based STEM activities appropriate for grades K-2.

Strand Instructors: Gina Kwid & Nicole Sarty

Keywords: Engineering Design Process, Project Based Learning (PBL), Maker Space, STEM


Transport Your Students StrandParticipants will practice integrating making in the classroom through a variety of project-based challenges using readily available materials. Recyclables and materials from the iSTEM kit will be used to develop solutions to problems related to a transportation theme. Transportation will be connected to a wide range of grade-level content as well as more open-ended makerspace challenges. Once these activities are brought into the classroom, students will develop critical thinking and problem solving skills through making and project-based learning. Primary sources, including historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches and art objects, will be integrated into each transportation build, preparing the educator to integrate transportation-based making challenges in a variety of subject areas. Primary sources will be found through the Library of Congress, National Archives, Life Magazine, Spartacus Educational and online research tools. Participants will receive a kit of materials to implement transportation challenges in the classroom, including cardboard scissors, Hex Bug airplane launcher, paper circuit materials, stomp rockets and more!

Strand Instructors: Kari Schumacher & Lisa Gamboa

Keywords: STEAM, Coding, Robotics, Computer Science, Technology


Wonderful World of Coding StrandLearn how to introduce coding and robots to your primary grade students! Participants will experience a variety of “unplugged” and “plugged” coding activities to help their students develop an initial understanding of how coding works, such as using block coding to move from one place to another. Participants will then learn how to teach students to code using a Dash robot. Participants will learn to program Dash to play a xylophone, sketch shapes, complete the Wonder Robotics Competition League missions and much more. We will dive into the Wonder Workshop curriculum portal, where you can access pre-planned lessons aligned with computer science standards developed by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). If you have no prior experience teaching primary age students about code and are wondering where to start, this strand is for you! Participants will receive a kit including a Wonder Workshop Dash robot, Code and Go Mouse, “Let's Go Code” 50-piece activity set and more.

Strand Instructor: Eliza Schulz

Keywords: Geology, Paleontology, Mining, Science, STEM


Exploring Idaho's Geologic Past StrandIn this strand, participants will explore Idaho’s geologic and fossil history through a series of activities that are based on Idaho’s new science standards for 2nd–6th grade. These activities will cover content and provide ideas on how to engage the material through inquiry- and project-based learning, while connecting to Idaho-specific topics, including mining and environmental research. Examples of activities are “Paleo Sleuth: Construct Past Environments,” and “Choose Your Own Adventure” rock cycle. Participants will also have the opportunity to develop a project-based lesson plan, build confidence in the geosciences and learn how to create and engage community partners across the state. This strand will provide two field experiences: a hike around Table Rock and a tour of the Boise Watershed. Each participant will receive a kit that features rock and fossil samples, 25 hand lenses for students, a hand-held microscope for the classroom, literature and more!

Strand Instructors: DaNel Hogan & Sara Mount

Keywords: Chemistry, Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Air Pollution, Energy Literacy, LEGO molecules


Building Blocks of Energy StrandGot building bricks? You will after this strand. LEGO building bricks are fun but are even more fun when you use them to teach about chemical reactions, air composition and pollution, and ocean acidification. Using the MIT LEGO Molecules Curriculum, you will be able to introduce students to molecules, atoms, chemical notation and chemical compounds through an engaging hands-on wet lab and models of atoms made with LEGO bricks. Then, jump into understanding air: learn how to engage students in building a model of air, and combusting fuel models to produce carbon dioxide and air pollutants. Step into an exploration of the primary sources of energy and how we produce electricity. Then, dive into understanding the carbon cycle and important chemical reactions which occur in oceans. After a field trip to a natural gas power plant, explore the science of natural gas with a corrosion chemist. Finally, explore energy efficiency and conservation by researching the history of an appliance and imagining where innovation will take that appliance 20 years from now. Every participant walks away with more than $400 in equipment and supplies, including a classroom set of building bricks and mat for the MIT LEGO Molecules Curriculum.

Strand Instructors: ReBekha Lulu & Paul Verhage

Keywords: 3D Printing, Design Thinking, Engineering Design, Innovation


IDX: Engineering Solutions with 3D Design & Fabrication StrandThis strand prepares middle and high school educators (grades 5-12) to integrate 3D printing in their learning space and to lead a team in the Idaho Exhibition of Ideas (IDX) Student Showcase in Spring 2021. IDX is a multi-week competition in which student teams brainstorm, develop and prototype a 3D printed solution that responds to a challenge theme. This year, we are excited to offer this opportunity for two divisions: grades 5-8, and 9-12. Strand participants will receive foundational education on additive manufacturing, its applications and how to translate 2D design concepts into 3D. We will then delve into 3D modeling with the online platform Tinkercad; and the operation, maintenance and troubleshooting of a 3D printer. We will explore design thinking and engineering design as step-by-step processes for guiding students in developing a product for IDX, and for a variety of other cross-curricular projects. Finally, we will look at successful examples of 3D printing integration in both formal and informal learning spaces, including team-based challenges, senior projects, family engagement events and more. Participants in this strand will be required to lead a team in the 2021 IDX Student Showcase; travel stipends will be provided based on mileage to the closest IDX site. Participants will receive a FlashForge Adventurer 3 Lite 3D printer and a 3D printing starter kit, including flash drive, digital calipers, maintenance tools, filament and more.

Strand Instructor: Padma Gadepally

Keywords: Body Systems, Anatomy and Physiology Lab, Hand-On, Health Sciences


Human Anatomy for Educators Strand"Human Anatomy for Educators" is an intensive professional development workshop for Idaho high school (9th-12th grade) health sciences and biology educators. Over the course of the four days, educators will take a deep dive into the major human body systems, led by highly experienced instructors from the Skaggs Treasure Valley Anatomy and Physiology Labs (TVAPL) at ISU-Meridian. Carefully designed instructional content will be paired with hands-on activities to enhance educators’ anatomical understanding and ability to guide their students’ exploration of this rapidly expanding career field. The highlight of the strand will be a field trip to TVAPL, where educators will experience virtual dissection before getting hands-on in the Gross Anatomy Lab. (“Gross” is the German word for large, referring to anatomy that does not need a microscope to be seen). This strand is a win-win for educators and students alike: educators will gain more confidence covering human anatomy topics with their students, while developing sound pedagogical skills and best practices to take back to their classrooms. They will also network with fellow educators in their field, while gaining valuable information about some of the local resources available to support the learning of their students. Participating educators will receive a color-coded model of the human skull, along with tailored instructional handouts to support instructor teaching and promote student learning.

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