From robot kits to Madagascar hissing crickets, TEP provided supplies this summer to help about 120 teachers bring STEM lessons to local students when classes resume this fall.

In June, TEP sponsored virtual and hybrid workshops with supplies from the STEMAZing Institute through the Pima County School Superintendent’s Office. Over the past two years, TEP has contributed $70,000 to The STEMAZing Project as part of TEP’s longtime commitment to education and preparing young people for future careers that require STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) knowledge.

“Students who develop a curiosity about the world around them and learn to think critically about what they see become problem solvers in our community. TEP is proud to provide resources to the teachers who cultivate this sense of curiosity and wonder,” said Jennifer North, TEP’s Education Outreach Representative.

Teachers learned how to compost with worms, write code for mini robots, monitor bug behavior and other skills they can share with to more than 7,500 students. Each teacher received up to $600 worth of supplies along with the training.

“TEP really has made it possible to give teachers exactly what they need so they can implement what they need over these three-day workshops,” said DaNel Hogan, Director of The STEMAZing Project. “The goal is to provide teachers with a much-needed morale boost and to keep them excited about engaging their students with ways of making sense of the world that are aligned with state standards.”

TEP’s donation also supported other STEMAZing efforts, including:

Early education in Spanish: Twenty-one educators learned STEM lessons that they can teach in Spanish to young children at preschools, home childcare centers, and early-education classes. TEP provided funding for about $200 worth of supplies for each Tucson-area educator, who joined with others from Nogales, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico in virtual training.

“Our community is very diverse and we appreciate the ability to reach as many teachers and students as we can,” North said.

STEMAZing Teacher Leader Corps: Teachers are developing lessons tied to Arizona science standards and recording videos with hints and tips for their peers who might use these lessons in their classrooms. The first video features a teacher sharing a flood project, created with sand, tray and cups of water, to demonstrate erosion. The second video will highlight a project called Worm Worlds, which had second-grade “wormologists” investigating the bedding and food preferences of red wiggler composting worms.

STEM Library: STEMAZing compiled a video library for educators, as well as shared ideas through the social media hashtag of #STEMontheCheap, of inexpensive or readily available materials for learning opportunities.

“There are a million things on the Internet, but there are a lot of things that aren’t high quality lessons or that aren’t developmentally appropriate,” Hogan said. “We’re doing the legwork, so teachers spend their time engaging with their classes, instead of in searching.”

TEP’s support of STEMAZing is among the many ways we assist and honor educators and schools throughout the year, including grants to Tucson Values Teachers and the Educational Enrichment Foundation. Each summer, we focus our donations on education efforts to help launch the school year. Read about our teacher appreciation and education programs.

This story is part of our ongoing series highlighting TEP’s philanthropic focus areas. From July through September, we focus on education. TEP works with nonprofit partners to develop invitation-based donation requests for community assistance efforts. Funds come from corporate resources, not customers’ rates. Learn more about donations.

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