The race is on: STEM Scale-Up Professional Development accelerates across the state

Iowa educators work with new STEM Scale-Up program, National STEM League: TEN80
Two Iowa educators, Scott Henderson and Shane Peterson, learn how to build, race,repair and apply mathematics to small cars in a new STEM Scale-Up program, National STEM League: TEN80.

This month marks the start for dozens of STEM Scale-Up program trainings for a couple of thousand PreK through 12 educators ready to teach, prepare and inspire more than 100,000 young Iowan minds with new STEM skills and projects.

Back in March, the STEM Council awarded 14 different STEM Scale-Up programs to nearly 3,000 Iowan educators, both in and out of the classroom, that include building robots and wind turbines to virtual reality and STEM career awareness.

Each program requires hands-on, professional development that focuses on the best practices for incorporating the programs into current STEM curriculum. With the help and coordination of the six regional STEM managers, a total of 73 trainings will happen across the STEM regions of the state through October.

In one of those trainings earlier this month, a handful of educators took the wheel in the first-ever TEN80 race in Iowa’s history, including Scott Henderson, an eighth grade mathematics teacher at McCombs Middle School in Des Moines.

“I will use this program in an after-school club. The car will get the kids into the room, but the different aspects of the program will keep them coming back,” Henderson said. “I like that this does not only involve students with good science backgrounds but also business and graphics.”

The National STEM League: TEN80 is a new STEM Scale-Up program this year that uses student-built race cars to demonstrate the use of mathematics, statistics, physics, engineering and other STEM-related skillsets. Henderson’s partner for the day, Shane Peterson, an industrial technology teacher at West Lyon Community School District in Inwood, said he will implement TEN80 into his drafting and CAD class.

“We were able to take apart the cars, analyze them, race them and repair the cars when something broke,” Peterson said. “The curriculum is very well-organized and easily accessible, which allows me to select how much or how fast I can implement this curriculum the first year and allows for changes and improvement for the next year. I am excited to see how my students will take this program and make it their own.”

For a full list of 2015-16 Scale-Up programs, please visit For information about professional development programs send an inquiry to

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