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.
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.