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STEM Pre-Academy

Welcome to the STEM Pre-Academy!

The STEM Pre-Academy fosters inspiration and relevance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics primarily through initiatives, such as teacher workshops, technical focus sessions, and collaborative interaction between middle school teachers and subject matter experts. This teacher-driven multidisciplinary program helps middle school public educators develop and implement research and technology based student curriculum including lessons, activities and projects.

The STEM Pre-Academy is a state-funded program, focused on public middle school teachers in Hawaii.

Latest News

Visit the new miniblog on Mobile Devices - Mobile Learning!

We've kicked off a new miniblog on this site and hope you’ll join the online conversation to learn more about the various mobile devices that are now inundating the consumer market and some of which are now being used in the classroom.

Nutrition Researcher Speaks to PE Classes

When science and engineering principles collide, the result can be quite practical with far-reaching effect as students at Jarrett Middle School learned in October from UH Jahren Geobiology Laboratory Research Technician, Josh Bostic.

Josh gave a great presentation to 3 PE classes at Jarrett Middle School on the science behind added sugars in the standard American diet. The students learned that making healthy food choices now will help keep their bodies healthy and free of chronic diseases in the future.

Follow-up Mini Workshop: Water Quality Field Trip to Kualoa Ranch

On Saturday, July 26, 2014, teachers from Waipahu Intermediate, Aliamanu Intermediate, Moanalua Middle and Ewa Makai Middle schools met at Kualoa Ranch Educational Center to participate in the STEM Pre-Academy Water Quality Follow-Up Mini Workshop.

Dr. Marek Kirs, a researcher at the University of Hawaii Water Resources Research Center, shared his research data and insight on water quality in the streams and beaches in Hawaii.

Feature Project: iPad Enabled Digital Publishing @ Moanalua Middle School

At Moanalua Middle School, Language Arts teacher Kathy Nagaji and her team piloted a project with students entitled, “iPad Enabled Digital Publishing”. They drew inspiration from the October 2013 iPad workshop co-presented by STEM Pre-Academy, Hawaii Creative Media, and students from Searider Productions, Wai`anae High School.

The Leaves

Recent Comments:

lhashimoto: I like the idea of having the students experiment with different fertilizer... Read More...
hydroponics: @edwinjcolon and @lnishizuka I am not sure how complete the 7-4-10 fertilizer... Read More...
edwinjcolon: @hydroponics What do you think about the fertilizer @Inishizuka is planing to... Read More...
hydroponics: @lnishizuka please see the attached link for an example of a forestry seedling... Read More...
lnishizuka: @edwinjcolon @hydroponics, thank you for your feedback! I guess I was thinking... Read More...
ishiic's picture

Great timing! A UHM Mechanical Engineering student (now graduate) designed and fabricated a demonstration wave tank as a project for use in STEM outreach. Some of the content topics he identified were: absorbed wave, standing wave, changes in frequency&wavelength, wave particles, single slot wave propagation, wave energy conversion...etc. The 2nd gen, more portable classroom wave tank is nearly complete. The modified design was based on a teacher/student application. There are so many applications and concepts that can be demonstrated and taught with a wave tank. I also sent you a follow-up email. @lifescienceswahiawa #earthscience #wavetank

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Photo Credit: Matt Tonokawa
lifescienceswahiawa's picture

The one I had in mind sort of looks like this:
That would be useful for teaching about wavelength and frequency and amplitude.
However, to teach about tsunamis, the one we saw had on the other end a slope made of plexiglass (with sand underneath for visual) and a couple of loose "trees" on the beach. The goal was to generate a tsunami to knock over the loose items (without being too forceful to wet everything. I like the above design because it can generate an tsunami by simulating an earthquake in the subduction zone (displacing vertically from the ocean floor). Also, to have spaced pegs along the inside to drop down a foreign object (like a landslide or a meteor).
@judithinouye @lifescienceswahiawa

judithinouye's picture

If there is none to be borrowed, do you have some idea of what design could allow for such data collection… I could look at outside resources to construct one that meets with your design specs.

lifescienceswahiawa's picture

We just came back from a trip to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center's new operation center on Ford Island. The students simulated tsunamis (with a wave tank) and then the staff showed how they track the different seismic data to determine if a tsunami warning should be issued. They also used the Science on a Sphere to project different maps (global warming, electricity use, tsunamis). Is there a long clear wave tank available to borrow if we wanted to further explore waves (wavelength/frequency) and tsunamis? #wahiawamid #earthscience #tsunami

lnishizuka's picture

I'm thinking of doing a hydroponics activity using milk gallon containers and growing Japanese cucumbers. I need feedback from the scientists who did the hydroponics workshop if you folks think this is possible? I know it worked well with the heads of lettuce, but not sure if the Japanese cucumber plant will be too big and heavy? I'm planning on having a trellis setup, but still unsure if the milk gallon containers will be big enough. Your thoughts?

May 8 2015 - 2:22pm

Show previous 8 comments
edwinjcolon's picture

@lnishizuka thanks for sharing your idea. I think growing cucumbers in milk gallon containers will be a great experiment. My recommendation is to monitor the water level. Cucumbers use a lot more water than lettuces. Have you considered using bigger volume containers like the 3 gallon buckets thrown away by bakeries? Finding out the optimal size containers to grow cucumbers using the Kratky method is also a good idea for a project. Let me know if you need recommendations in term of nutrients for your project.

May 8 2015 - 2:47pm
hydroponics's picture

@Inishizuka, @edwinjcolon is right that there is a larger water requirement from the cucumber than the lettuce. I would suggest that you use a 50-gallon trash can as your nutrient tank for cucumbers. Please see the link to Kratky's cucumber method Smaller containers can be used but care must be taken to manage water levels in the tank. Typically roots in these systems do not like to be re-submerged in water once they have been exposed to oxygen. If you are refilling the tank please make sure not to make drastic changes in water levels. This will help to minimize shock to the root system.

May 8 2015 - 4:00pm
hydroponics's picture

@lnishizuka Attached is a link to some photos of systems I have built that may be of interest to you.

May 8 2015 - 4:19pm
lnishizuka's picture

@edwinjcolon @hydroponics, thank you for your feedback! I guess I was thinking of milk gallon containers since those are easy for parents/families to donate for the project. But I could look into purchasing a bigger container, or looking around for those 3-gallon buckets you mentioned.

@hydroponics, I looked at the CTAHR link - what is the forestry tube, and where can I get one?

@edwinjcolon, I purchased a hydroponics liquid solution through one of the science teacher catalogs. It says "7-4-10" on the front, and is "outstanding for all kinds of plants" according to the bottle. I just bought these for ease of writing purchase orders, since the product was made for student activities. Will this be suffice for growing cucumbers?

May 11 2015 - 3:15pm
hydroponics's picture

@lnishizuka please see the attached link for an example of a forestry seedling tube.

May 11 2015 - 5:01pm
edwinjcolon's picture

@hydroponics What do you think about the fertilizer @Inishizuka is planing to use? I would recommend, if it is only for cucumbers, to use base fertilizer 8-16-36 with Calcium nitrate (Ca) and Magnesium Sulfate (Mg). I think her 7-4-10 will be good for germinating stage but she will need a stronger fertilizer for fruit production.

May 11 2015 - 6:04pm
hydroponics's picture

@edwinjcolon and @lnishizuka I am not sure how complete the 7-4-10 fertilizer but I think that it could be used to grow cucumbers depending on the rest of the nutrients available in the mix. Typically you would want a higher nitrogen fertilizer for the vegetative growth and a lower nitrogen fertilizer during fruiting. You will also want something that has high potassium during fruiting. I have used the 8-15-36 lettuce formula from Chem-gro in combination with calcium nitrate and magnesium sulfate for zucchini which should have similar nutrient requirements as cucumber. If the 7-4-10 is all you have you may need to supplement with other sources to complete the fertilizer. This could be a project that the students can do to compare different fertilizer mixes to see how they perform.

May 11 2015 - 11:38pm
lhashimoto's picture

I like the idea of having the students experiment with different fertilizer mixes. This is a great real-world inquiry lesson. Since we don't know what exact nutrient composition Japanese cucumbers need, we can design and implement a scientific investigation to learn more!

May 18 2015 - 3:36pm

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