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STEM Innovation Award

The STEM Innovation Award is presented in partnership with MESPA and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The new award gives principals the opportunity to share innovative programs and/or projects in their schools. Submitted applications become part of MESPA's STEM Innovation Database, available to MESPA members, helping schools across the state replicate their colleagues’ successes. The Science Museum of Minnesota will provide $300 of programming to the recipient of the award and the recipient will be recognized at MESPA Institute awards banquet – The MESPYs – in February. 

 Any MESPA member can submit a project/program for consideration!

Application period now closed 

Any Active-Level MESPA Member can submit a project/program for consideration for the 2021 STEM Innovation Award. 

See examples of past applications in the STEM Innovation Database.

FAQ: 

  • Who can apply for the award? Any Active Level MESPA Member may apply for the STEM Innovation Award.
  • Can my school submit more than one innovative program/project for consideration? No, schools can only submit one innovate program/project per year.
  • What type of STEM Innovations can be submitted? Any sustainable and/or growth-oriented program/project that encourages and celebrates STEM literacy can be submitted for consideration. See past applications in the STEM Innovation Database. Some examples are:
o   New learning opportunities for students
o   Different and innovative STEM teaching methods
o   Different and innovative forms of measuring STEM outcomes
o   STEM professional development and coaching opportunities for educators
o   In-School or Out-of-School STEM experience(s) for students
o   Engaging families or community partners in STEM curriculum

Congratulations to our 2020 STEM Innovation Award Winner: Oak Ridge Elementary School of Leadership, Environmental and Health Sciences


Oak Ridge Elementary School of Leadership, Environmental and Health Sciences is in its fourth year as a magnet school focusing on developing new systems to increase academic success in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). They have accomplished that through developing innovative opportunities for their learners outside their traditional classroom. These opportunities include a STEM specialist course, additional before, during, and after school STEM classes, Engineering nights, student STEM leaders, and their new STEM to Go! Kits (pictured left).

“At Oak Ridge, we are eager to offer unique opportunities to support the reduction of racial and gender bias in STEM. As a leadership magnet school, we want to cultivate the talent in all learners,” Kindem and Walters wrote in their application. “STEM to GO! Kits ensure access to STEM equipment and experiences to build confidence and for all to have the opportunity to become science and technology leaders.”

Their STEM specialist, Tanner Walters, exposes students to a wide variety of STEM-focused activities which integrate their current unit of study from their classroom with our magnet theme. There are many examples of STEM themed projects specific to grade levels. 5th grade students learn about ecosystems through invasive buckthorn species found on campus and help develop plans to remove them. They also learn to code EV3 robots in STEM class to sort recyclable and non-recyclable waste on a course created in art class. The 3rd graders use circuitry to design their own star constellations to learn about astronomy, and 4th grade might learn about hydrology through testing pond water on campus and developing ways to purify it. 


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