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STEM Innovation Award

Presented in partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota

The STEM Innovation Award is presented in partnership with MESPA and the Science Museum of Minnesota. The new award gives principals the opportunity to share innovative programs and/or projects in their schools. Submitted applications become part of MESPA's STEM Innovation Database, available to MESPA members, helping schools across the state replicate their colleagues’ successes. The Science Museum of Minnesota will provide $600 of programming to the award winner and the recipient will be recognized at MESPA Institute awards banquet – The MESPYs – in February. 

See Application Guidelines



Judging Criteria

    • 25% Impact on School Community
    • 25% Replicable
    • 25% Inclusive and supports diversity
    • 25% Sustainable and/or has potential for growth


Who can apply for the award? Any Active Level MESPA Member may apply for the STEM Innovation Award. 

How do I submit the application?  Email it to mespa@mespa.net

Can my school submit more than one innovative program/project for consideration? No, schools can only submit one innovate program/project per year.

What type of STEM Innovations can be submitted? Any sustainable and/or growth-oriented program/project that encourages and celebrates STEM literacy can be submitted for consideration. See past applications in the STEM Innovation Database. Some examples are:

    • New learning opportunities for students
    • Different and innovative STEM teaching methods
    • Different and innovative forms of measuring STEM outcomes
    • STEM professional development and coaching opportunities for educators
    • In-School or Out-of-School STEM experience(s) for students
    • Engaging families or community partners in STEM curriculum

    Congratulations to our 2023 STEM Innovation Award Recipient: Eagle View Elementary School!

    2021 Eagle View Elementary School launched a new environmentally focused STEM (E-STEM) program for all K-4 students.

    During E-STEM, students participated in lessons based on the new Minnesota State Science Standards which involves inquiry-centered learning that can take place in the indoor lab, outdoor nature center, and surrounding forest, trails, and lake. Through grants and donations, Eagle View Elementary built a yurt, which provides a sheltered meeting space in the nature center. One example of a 4th-grade lesson was learning about the benefits of pollinators, how to identify different pollinators, then observing and collecting data in their school gardens.

    Students identified and counted the pollinators they found, recorded what kind of plant they were found on as well as the color of the flower. They completed the project by graphing what color plants pollinators are most attracted to. Through these types of lessons, the goal is to encourage kids to get excited about learning STEM subjects and build enthusiasm and appreciation for nature with the added benefits of spending time outdoors.

    The opportunities are endless when it comes to growth for this E-STEM program. Because of the shift in the new Minnesota State Science Standards, along with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to include science practices, content, and crosscutting concepts, this program is the perfect environment for students to build interest, wonder, and skills for learning about nature and the STEM subjects.

    The goal for the upcoming year is to continue to build connections between Eagle View and the Pequot Lakes community, providing more unique learning opportunities for our students.

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