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Arizona SciTech Blog

This blog is courtesy of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

Track: Community STEM Action & Volunteerism 

This session will provide tips on how to develop or expand an existing event, templates for action planning, and tools to help keep things fresh. Come to the session with an idea and see how the best practices developed by the RAIN Project can help your STEM experience.



Register for the 7th Annual Arizona SciTech Festival Kickoff Conference: “Building Arizona’s STEM Ecosystem” today!  

Track: Community STEM Action & Volunteerism 

This session will highlight the power of organization with a vision to promote STEM experiences. Speakers represent three rural regions of Arizona that have brought together members from education, business, government, and non-profits to support STEM. Hear about experiences, about best practices, and strategic planning for success. These are members of vibrant rural Arizona, but their lessons can easily be transferred to community organizing in any community of the state.  


Host: Kalman Mannis, Project Director for Rural Activation and Innovation Network, mrkmannis@gmail.com, mannisk@azscience.org, cell/text: 928-245-2839
  • John Jarchow, Retired Architect and Educator
  • Susan Rodriguez, K6 Science Specialist and STEM Event Coordinator
  • Alexandra Helm, Yavapai College, Verde Valley STEM Expo
  • Kitty Roberts, Yavapai Apache Nation 
  • Paul Anger, Eastern Arizona Science Initiative


Register for the 7th Annual Arizona SciTech Festival Kickoff Conference: “Building Arizona’s STEM Ecosystem” today!  

Track: STEM Instruction 

Panels and demonstrations have long been part of educational conferences. However, in today’s constructivist STEM classroom teachers are expected to allow students “to do” learning. Given this viewpoint, the Sci-Tech Festival Kick-off is going to provide interactive hands-on learning opportunities for educators.

During each 50-minute session there will be 2-25-minute rotations. During each rotation participants will be able to actively learn about, explore, and “play with” a form of educational technology they can use in the K-8 classroom. After each session teachers will leave with resources they can take with them to continue the excitement and learning in their schools. These sessions are designed or teachers and adults and are not designed students.

Presenters: (TBD) 


Register for the 7th Annual Arizona SciTech Festival Kickoff Conference: “Building Arizona’s STEM Ecosystem” today!  

Track: STEM Instruction 

This will be a panel discussion consisting of PLTW Teachers, PLTW students, business/industry partners, PLTW Administrators, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a cybersecurity expert. We will discuss how to build a Program of Study(Pathway), the importance of having a Program of Study(Pathway), how to sustain your Program of Study(Pathway), and how to engage partners in your work. We will discuss what our industry and business partners see as needs within their workforce, and the positive impact this collaboration will have on our economy and job opportunities because we are preparing our students to be college and career ready.


  • Cindy Nixon, Director of School Engagement, Project Lead The Way
  • A panel of PLTW teachers, PLTW students, business/industry partners, PLTW administrators, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a cybersecurity expert.


Register for the 7th Annual Arizona SciTech Festival Kickoff Conference: “Building Arizona’s STEM Ecosystem” today!  

Track: Computer Science and Engineering 

Join us for a discussion about what it takes to organize a makerspace. Share your questions and experience. Our panel of experts will bring their perspective from makerspaces in libraries, schools, and community spaces. Ask your questions about about tools, funding, leadership, software, processes, skills, kits, and more of what goes into making a great makerspace experience. Start where you are and build your community of makers. Learn how during this panel.




Register for the 7th Annual Arizona SciTech Festival Kickoff Conference: “Building Arizona’s STEM Ecosystem” today!  

Track: Computer Science and Engineering 

Learn about how to start and run a makerspace. Covering all kinds of makerspaces and your questions about tools, space needs, software, processes, skills, kits, and events that make for a great makerspace experience.



Register for the 7th Annual Arizona SciTech Festival Kickoff Conference: “Building Arizona’s STEM Ecosystem” today!

Track: Computer Science and Engineering 

EPICS High, for high school and middle school students, is a design-based service learning and social entrepreneurship program that incorporates the engineering and human-centered design processes to provide solutions to real world problems. 

EPICS High instills the importance of service while increasing the pipeline of students interested in STEM pathways.  The program has proven to be an engagement tool for developing an appreciation for STEM and service learning by providing students authentic engineering learning experiences in context. 

A panel of student participants, teachers, and community partners will share their experiences collaborating over the course of the 2016-2017 school year to implement their engineering projects in the community.



  • Jennifer Velez,  EPICS High Coordinator, ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering (Jennifer.velez@asu.edu)
  • Delaney Johns, A New Leaf STEM Curriculum Team Member, Gilbert Classical Academy
  • Taylor Miller, A New Leaf STEM Curriculum Team Member, Gilbert Classical Academy
  • Lexi Paynter, A New Leaf STEM Curriculum Team Member, Gilbert Classical Academy
  • Eric Gillman, EPICS High Teacher, Gilbert Classical Academy
  • Stephanie Besch, EPICS High Teacher, Metro Tech High School
  • Rodrigo Acevedo, Spoke’N’Steel Team Leader, Metro Tech High School


Register for the 7th Annual Arizona SciTech Festival Kickoff Conference: “Building Arizona’s STEM Ecosystem” today!  


[Tucson, AZ], April 25, 2017– Sonoran Science Academy’s CRUSH 1011 competed this past week at one of two, concurrently-held, international FIRST World Championships. CRUSH was invited to compete at the FIRST World Championship after both winning the Colorado Regional and earning the Colorado Regional Chairman’s Award. At the event, held in Houston, Texas, last week CRUSH competed with 400 teams from around the world. 


On Thursday and Friday, CRUSH 1011 competed with 67 other teams to determine team rankings, securing an 8th seed position overall. On Saturday morning, the top eight teams were tasked with selecting their four-robot alliance for the division elimination rounds.


The FIRST competition revolves around alliances that are comprised of four individual teams. CRUSH was selected first overall by the number one seeded team, FRC Team 973. FRC Team 2928 and FRC Team 5499 were also selected by Team 973 and this “West Coast alliance” went undefeated in the division elimination rounds to become the Division Champions.​


All five division champion alliances then faced off on the “Einstein Field” through fifteen semi-final rounds to determine the two alliance teams that would compete in the final. CRUSH 1011 was thrilled to be part of one of the alliances that advanced to the finals, where they CRUSHed it to become the first ever Arizona team to win the FIRST World Championship.


However, their journey isn’t over yet. On July 28th & 29th, CRUSH will compete in an exposition with the winning alliance from the other FIRST World Championship, held in St. Louis. July’s event, held at a school near FIRST Headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire, is called the “Festival of Champions” and will be an opportunity for CRUSH to compete and celebrate FIRST.


Dr. Adnan Doyuran, Principal at Sonoran Science Academy Middle/High School commented, “Sonoran Science Academy’s CRUSH 1011 was the first FRC team in Tucson in 2004 and are now the first robotics World Champions from the state of Arizona. This is really an amazing achievement and so well-deserved! This program encompasses so many areas, from marketing and communications, to budget planning and yes, to building robots. It requires incredible commitment from the students but also provides an invaluable, real-world experience of assembling a team to achieve a specific goal and we are so pleased to be able to provide this unique opportunity to or students”.


FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1989.  Their mission is to inspire young people to pursue science and technology. The organization, based in Manchester, NH, designs accessible, innovative programs motivating young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.  For more information about their FRC program, visit www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc

Sonoran Science Academy Tucson is a K-12 school emphasizing a STEM curriculum, located near River and La Cholla.  For more information about the school, please visit www.sonoranschools.org/tucson.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Crissie Rowley at (520) 505-1772 or email at crowley@sonoranschools.org.

SUMMER BRAIN QUEST’S Nationwide Summer Kick-Off Party will take place in Phoenix at Changing Hands Bookstore on May 20, 2017. America’s No. 1 educational bestseller, with more than 44 million copies in print, BRAIN QUEST® is releasing a new series of educational workbooks aimed at stopping the summer slide by making summer learning fun for kids and easier on parents.

Families are invited to the SUMMER BRAIN QUEST’S Kick-Off party, a FREE event hosted in Phoenix by local mom blogger and event planner Bettijo B. Hirschi of PagingSupermom.com, on May 20, 2017 from 10 am until noon at the Phoenix Location of Changing Hands Bookstore (300 W.
Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013).

This FREE family outing will be educational, fun and interactive, featuring hands-on crafts, educational games, fun photo opportunities and light snacks. Admission is just $12.95 for the whole family and includes a goody bag with one SUMMER BRAIN QUEST® workbook (a $12.95
value) to take home.

SUMMER BRAIN QUEST® combines the interactive creativity of the well-loved BRAIN QUEST® decks with a choose-your-own-adventure game element that will keep kids learning all summer long. The workbooks also encourage outdoor activities and include achievement stickers that make learning a flexible game that can be approached from different directions. This approach is what educators call personalized learning.

In six titles, for kindergarten to 6th grade, SUMMER BRAIN QUEST® covers math science, social studies and English language arts. BRAIN QUEST® was developed with an advisory panel of five distinguished educators to ensure that its content aligns with national and state standards.

More details about the Phoenix SUMMER BRAIN QUEST® Kick-Off Event can be found here: http://www.changinghands.com/event/may2017/family-summer-brain-quest-kick

Good evening,

I’m excited to announce some new chain-reaction machine camps in Chandler and Mesa during spring break!
The Art of Invention: Chain-Reaction STEAM Machines™ Spring Break Camp

Description: In this exciting hands-on day camp, students will be introduced to the engineering design process while they learn and use basic science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) concepts like simple machines, electric circuits, Arduino microcontroller programming, music, and storytelling. The project-based approach will emphasize problem identification, brainstorming, problem solving, rapid prototyping, teamwork, and communication. The camp will culminate with the design and construction of a giant thematic Rube Goldberg®-style chain-reaction machine! Session 1 of the camp is for ages 10 – 15, and Sessions 2 and 3 are for ages 11 – 16.


Session 1: March 6 – 10, 2017; Registration: http://www.regonline.com/steamlabs-session1

Session 2: March 13 – 17, 2017; Registration: http://www.regonline.com/steamlabs-session2

Session 3: March 20 – 24, 2017; Registration: http://www.regonline.com/steamlabs-session3

Camps run from 9 AM – 5 PM. Students must provide their own lunches.


Session 1: i.d.e.a. Museum, 35 North Robson Street, Mesa, AZ  85201

Sessions 2 and 3: ASU TechShop Chandler, 249 East Chicago Street, Chandler, AZ  85225

Fee: $200 per student

Questions? Contact Dr. Shawn Jordan, Arizona State University at Shawn.S.Jordan@asu.edu

Shawn Jordan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Polytechnic School
Director, STEAM Labs™ Center for K-12 Research and Engagement
Honors Faculty
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Arizona State University
(480) 727-1405