Teachers experiment with whirly-gigs and then build this simple activity into an integrated STEM unit on transportation.

For three learning-packed days in August, the classrooms of La Center High School were filled with a different kind of student: Southwest Washington Science teachers.

ESD 112’s STEM Initiatives team hosted the first-ever STEM-tastic Summer Science Symposium this summer. 192 science teachers from 27 different school districts gathered to learn about dozens of science topics, like solar energy, populations and ecosystems, and phenology at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge.

This event was offered at no cost to participants, and gave teachers the opportunity to earn all of the STEM clock hours they need for the entire year in just three days.

Pranjali Upadhyay writes and develops STEM curriculum units for ESD 112, and she led several workshops at the Symposium that gave teachers the chance to familiarize themselves with the curriculum and maximize student learning opportunities within the units.

She says of the Symposium, “It was a great opportunity to meet and support our dedicated teachers from across the region. Whether in a training about new curriculum that we’ve developed or a ‘hot topic’ session about research-based teaching strategies, I appreciated the opportunity to build connections and partnerships with teachers as we continue to promote STEM literacy for students in our region. Staying deeply connected to teacher-leaders and their classrooms brings so much meaning to what we do on the STEM Initiatives team.”


Pranjali Upadhyay leads middle school teachers in crafting scientific arguments based on evidence to answer the question: “Why do animals work in groups?”