What a Difference a Year Makes: STEM in 2019

Students participate in Pint Size Science
Pint Size Science was one of ten programs selected for the 2018-19 STEM Scale-Up Program menu. Designed for preschool through second grade students, Pint Size Science helps build science understanding and respond to ever changing interests and abilities.

In 2019, the STEM Council provided countless opportunities to educators to help inspire Iowa’s young people to become innovative, enterprising contributors to our future workforce and the quality of life in our communities. Here are a few highlights.

STEM Scale-Up Program

Ten high-quality STEM programs were selected for the STEM Scale-Up Program menu. More than 1,200 educators were awarded STEM Scale-Up Programs, impacting approximately 83,000 students during the 2019-2020 academic year. A special Mathematics Scale-Up Program menu was offered to help increase understanding, reasoning and interest in mathematics among students in Iowa. Three mathematics programs were identified to scale in 2019-2020 across Iowa. The Mathematics Scale-Up Program awards were delivered to nearly 700 educators and is expected to impact an estimated 19,000 students in 2019-2020.


The STEM Council awarded 13 new STEM BEST (Businesses Engaging Students and Teachers) Programs to school districts across Iowa for a total of 63 STEM BEST® Programs that have been awarded during the past six years. These programs are providing meaningful work-based learning experiences and activities in the K-12 educational arena, involving nearly 80 businesses and community partners. Of the recently awarded STEM BEST Programs, approximately 5,000 students are expected to participate or be impacted by taking on a community project, business partner meetings and pitches or recruitment of peers.  

Iowa STEM Teacher Externship Program

It was a record-setting tenth year of STEM Teacher Externships. Participation by the business sector and educator applications are at all-time highs thanks to ever-increasing private sector cost-sharing. In 2019, 83 educators were placed with 55 workplace hosts. Of the nearly 600 Iowa teachers who have taken part in the program over the past ten years, more than 90 percent consider it their most powerful professional development experience.

I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award

Each year, the STEM Council, in partnership with Kemin Industries, shines a light on six educators doing amazing work in STEM fields each year. In its sixth year, the award recognizes one full-time, licensed PreK-12 teacher from each of the state’s six STEM regions. The six teachers selected will receive an award of $1,500 for personal use and an additional $1,500 for his/her classroom. 

Computer Science is Elementary Project

The STEM Council partnered with the Iowa Department of Education to support twelve elementary schools receiving $50,000 grants each to transform into models of innovative computer science instruction through the Computer Science is Elementary project. All 12 schools will start their programs by 2020-21.

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