Iowa STEM Teacher Externs
to bring workplace to
classroom this fall

Eric Grabe, an Iowa STEM Teacher Extern at Pella Corporation, used his physics and programming teaching experience to test the strength of Pella windows this summer.

"This test consists of cycling a damaged window through a series of positive and negative pressures that replicate the conditions of a hurricane moving in and out of the area," said Eric Grabe, physics and computer teacher at Newton Senior High School, working this summer at Pella Corporation in Pella. "The program I wrote needed to ensure that the windows experienced the correct pressures, number of cycles and for the prescribed amounts of time."


Although Iowa will never see a hurricane, the experience Grabe will take back to the classroom will tie not only his physics concepts to the formulas in testing windows, but will also show students that work done in Iowa impacts people beyond the state's border.


Eric and nearly 60 other teachers throughout Iowa took the teaching hat off to put on a lab coat, strap on a hard hat and step into some chest waders to see first-hand how their subjects come to life in Iowa's workplaces this summer.


It's an annual opportunity for both teachers and workplaces known as the Iowa STEM Teacher Externships program, helping teachers of STEM subjects to inspire their students with classroom content that connects to the jobs of Iowa. In return, Workplace Hosts find valuable input from their outsider perspectives and use the expertise to accomplish new tasks important to their daily operations.


"This is a great opportunity for Iowa educators and industry to mutually benefit from learning," said Dan Parrish, engineering team leader at Pella Corporation. "We have a reasonable amount of time to execute several projects and both learn in the process. These skill sets are valuable to industry, and hopefully we will see more kids take an interest in this type of work in the future."

Additional Teacher Extern adventures as well as program information may be accessed at www.IowaSTEM.gov/Externships or search the hashtag #TeacherExtern on Twitter or Facebook.

August 2, 2016
Iowa STEM Teacher Externships
End-of-Year Forum
More Information

August 21, 2016
STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair
9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
More Information here or at the bottom of this issue

August 22, 2016
Governor's Press Conference on 2015-16 Iowa STEM Evaluation

September 17, 2016
WiSE STEM Festival
1:00 to 4:00 PM
Iowa State University
More Information

STEM Council
Operations Center
University of Northern Iowa
214 East Bartlett
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0298
PHONE 319-273-2959
E-MAIL [email protected]

Hundreds trained at summer professional development through the STEM Scale-Up Program

More than 60 STEM Scale-Up Program trainings happen now through October, including the Making STEM Connections workshop in Waterloo pictured above, that equip educators to use their awarded program this fall.
About one-sixth of Iowa's K-12 students are about to experience the best of STEM at the hands of nearly 1,700 educators trained at more than 60 STEM Scale-Up Program professional development workshops this summer and fall. Both in and out of school educators signed up for one of 11 programs, ranging from natural resource ecology to creative Making and from exciting ways to learn mathematics to issues-based biology and more.
Happening now through October, those given a STEM award through the STEM Scale-Up Program in April will attend a training that equips them with the skills and ideas needed to fully implement the program with their students.
"Making STEM Connections," a program offered by the Science Center of Iowa and on the 2016-17 STEM Scale-Up Program roster, held about a dozen workshops across Iowa this month, including one at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo.
The workshop introduced a kit of various materials to educators, letting them get hands-on with the gadgets and program to brainstorm ideas on how to make it work in their classroom or out-of-school settings. Katie Bopes, county youth coordinator for Iowa State University's Extension and Outreach in Jackson County, said the training gave her an inside look at the Maker Movement.
"We have several programs that we can incorporate this with, including 4-H, school enrichment programs, afterschool programming, summer day camps and College for Kids -- to name a few," Bopes said. "The beauty of this program is we are able to use it in many different ways, and all youth that we serve can benefit from it. With all of the programs that we offer, this could possibly reach at least 500 youth in Jackson County."
Thanks to the financial commitment to STEM from Iowa's legislature, these impactful programs are raising interest, awareness and performance of Iowa youth at a scale unimaginable just five years ago.
For more information on the STEM Scale-Up Program, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/Scale-Up.

Windows into STEM jobs - a new video series for Iowa

A young engineer at Accumold, a chemist at Wells Blue Bunny, an entomologist at DuPont Pioneer and a programmer at Acieta may be the next great ambassadors for Iowa STEM.
Each is featured conveying the excitement of her or his STEM career in a recently launched series of videos called, "Iowa STEM Careers," that show how STEM concepts in the classroom connect to the great jobs across Iowa. These first four, in what hopefully becomes a library of windows-into-the-workplace vignettes, were carefully chosen to kick off the project because of their cross-sectional representation of the state's business and industry landscape -- from small to large businesses, rural to urban communities and manufacturing to robotic programming and even, taste-testing!
As Iowa's "edu-nomic development" effort, Iowa STEM works to not only ensure a world-class STEM education for all Iowans but to also send those freshly-minted, STEM-literate minds to fill the thirsty talent pipeline that awaits them in Iowa.
The Iowa STEM Career video series joins our Iowa STEM Teacher Externships program and our STEM BESTŪ model as another great tool the STEM Council has created to equip the education system to bridge worlds with Iowa's business and industry.
We are grateful to the following four companies who opened their doors to our crew in partnership with Strategic America to develop the videos below (click to watch):
If you use these videos to enlighten youth in your charge, please let us know so that we can document usage and get your feedback. If your business would like to partner with us to develop your own Iowa STEM Career video, please contact Carrie Rankin, assistant director for development, at [email protected].

MVP for Iowa STEM: Craig Johnson 

Craig Johnson, executive director of the Iowa Academy of Science, is a founding member of the STEM Council who has brought his non-profit expertise to help grow Iowa STEM.
Craig Johnson, executive director of the Iowa Academy of Science, first gained a passion for inspiring students while working as a professional meteorologist and making presentations at Iowa schools. When he realized that many students felt they were not "smart enough" for STEM, he knew he needed to get more involved.
"The work of the STEM Council fosters an environment where students realize that STEM careers are attainable," Johnson said. "I wanted to be part of sharing the benefits of STEM to Iowa students."  
Now, five years later as this month's MVP for Iowa STEM, Johnson has played a major part in helping Iowa STEM serve hundreds of thousands of students. Among early work on committees to design the STEM Scale-Up Program and form public-private partnerships, Johnson says his favorite role on the STEM Council is pairing his non-profit expertise with the STEM Active Learning Community Partners working group.
"This group works to bring museums, science centers and other non-profits together for professional development and to form partnerships for the benefit of STEM education in Iowa," Johnson said. "Providing common connections for members of the STEM community helps reach children and adults in environments outside of school and in ways not provided by formal education."
Johnson says his involvement has aligned his work with others for future activities provided by the Iowa Academy of Science, but mostly, his role in Iowa STEM has shaped his message for students everywhere:
"STEM touches everyone. All of the comforts we enjoy, our ability to quickly travel great distances, medical advances, how we communicate and a whole host of other benefits come directly from STEM," Johnson said. "Even if I did not choose a STEM field as a career, chances are that a career I do choose would be a beneficiary of STEM advancements. Give STEM a chance. You might find something you never heard of that gets you up ahead of the alarm every day."

Thank you Craig Johnson and all of the 47 members of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council for sharing your passion and commitment.

SAVE THE DATE: STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday, August 21

It's that time of year to rally hundreds of families around Iowa STEM! Come join us for STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair as we take over the State Fair's Grand Concourse with opportunities to learn and experience STEM first-hand.
We will have all of the following starting at 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. that day:
  • 5 Stage Acts on our new STEM Stage right on the Grand Concourse;
  • 26 Exhibitors from across Iowa to offer you hands-on STEM experiences;
  • A FREE drawstring backpack for every person in your family;
  • And, a STEM Checklist activity to complete for a pair of FREE STEM Jammer Headphones.
Also on "Extreme Sunday" of the Fair, admission prices will be at a reduced rate -- free for children 5 and under, $3 for ages 6-11 and $6 for 12 and up.
Our partners on this event who help make this day possible, include Iowa Workforce Development, Kemin Industries, Noodles & Company and Rockwell Collins.
To learn more about the event, please visit www.IowaSTEM.gov/STEM-Day-Fair.