Preparing Educators to Scale World-Class STEM this Fall

2,000 educators participating in Storytime STEM-Packs training via Zoom.
Professional development is taking place for nearly 2,000 educators this summer. The STEM Scale-Up Program impacts nearly 100,000 youth in and out of the classroom each year.

The STEM Council’s Scale-Up Program finds and delivers top STEM learning programs to nearly 100,000 young Iowa learners each year with impact that extends far beyond the traditional classroom.

Scale-Up Program recipients are taking part in professional development throughout the summer months for implementation in classrooms, after-school programs, libraries, home-schooling networks and other educational settings beginning this fall.

Several Scale-Up Program providers of lessons, software, kits, and activities also incorporate learning experiences for special education students and other special populations in preparation for STEM Scale-Up Program implementation. 

Storytime STEM-Packs is a program on the STEM Scale-Up menu that connects children’s literature with STEM. They partnered with Mon Valley School, a special education center in Pennsylvania, to ramp up production for the STEM Scale-Up Program while offering special education students valuable work experience. 

“Assembling Storytime STEM-packs gives students a hands-on opportunity to practice the skills needed to work in a warehouse or distribution center,” said Mon Valley School materials handling instructor Michelle Holsopple. “They work as a team to pack the boxes and prepare them for shipment.” 

Ioponics, another STEM Scale-Up Program, is an aquaponics systems that couples a hands-on unit with academic supports. Dr. Michael Bechtel, Wartburg College associate professor of science education, works with pre-service students majoring in elementary education and undergraduate students to bring Ioponics into classrooms. Students helped create lessons aligned with Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) Standards, Iowa Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and have also been involved in the design of the Ioponics logo and helping with water flow, feeding cycles and waste removal. 

“Ioponics is truly an interdisciplinary, multigenerational education system. I am so excited to use my undergraduate students and the Ioponics system to teach other educators and their students,” said Dr. Bechtel.

For more information about the STEM Scale-Up Program, visit

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