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In partnership with Phoenix Suns Charities, we provide support to kindergarten through high school teachers for hands-on STEM projects in the classroom.
stem mini-grants program

Grants will be awarded to support innovative teaching strategies to enhance student performance that address science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics. We seek to support projects with an interdisciplinary approach that invite increased knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and/or evaluation that enhance learning through science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics.

Grants can not be requested for tablets, laptops, computers or projectors. Any equipment of reusable materials purchased through the grant become property of the school not the teacher.

Grants up to a maximum of $2,500 each may be awarded. A total of up to $50,000 is available for grants in the 2014-2015 school year. Refer to the budget guidelines below for more information.

The program is open to K-12 educators who teach in public and charter schools located in the APS service territory.
program procedures & criteria

Grant applications will only be accepted online from August 11 - October 8, 2014. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application no later than November 8, 2014.

Approved grants will be provided to the school or school district for distribution to the teacher recipient who will use the grant money in accordance with the approved budget. The school and/or school district are encouraged to continue the project after this funding expires. Project funds must be spent on designated budget items within the 2014-2015 school year.


review criteria 
  • an innovative approach to learning within the STEM subject areas
  • measurable, realistic goals to improve student achievement obtainable within the grant period
  • an interdisciplinary approach that invites increased knowledge and application of STEM-related subjects
  • clearly-defined and valid objectives and outcomes
  • well-defined activities specifically related to the project goals
  • an itemized, reasonable budget that relates back to the project
  • a realistic evaluation demonstrating quantifiable results
All publicity pertaining to the STEM Mini-grants must include acknowledgement of support by APS and Phoenix Suns Charities.
budget guidelines
Funds may be used to purchase equipment, classroom supplies and/or fund field trips, guest speakers or other items that would otherwise not be supported by the school or school district.
APS will not fund the following:
  • school and/or school district responsibilities (i.e. salaries, stipends, text books, etc.)
  • food and/or refreshments
  • capital campaigns
  • non-educational equipment such as office machines, computers, phones, cameras, etc.

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application tips
​Funding will be provided for projects which encourage creativity and increase student motivation to learn. Successful proposals will promote exciting and innovative activities to motivate students and enhance their learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
Tell a good story in an engaging way to explain what you are trying to do, why and how it relates to STEM. How long will the project last? Will it be ongoing?
project summary
Be explicit; what are your intentions? This is the first exposure the judges have to your project. Start off with something that will “hook” their attention; provide a background for your project. Give the key points and summarize the key objectives that will drive your project. How will students benefit from participating? What are your expected outcomes? How do you plan to sustain the program?
Activities should engage students in hands-on lessons that lead to new knowledge, understanding, investigating and/or and awareness about STEM. Describe what you’re trying to achieve and what you will do (activities, experiments, lessons, field trips, research and data collection, speakers, etc.) in a timeline with specific learning outcomes. Make sure you tie the activities to the objectives.
Itemize the expenditures needed to complete this project, including information on the materials and equipment needed, supplier and cost. Be specific as to how the required items relate to the project.
What effective evaluation methods will you use to measure achievement? How will you know your students learned what you wanted them to learn? What data will you provide that shows an increase in your students’ performance and achievement? Describe the data you’re going to provide.

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2013-2014 project summaries
During the 2013-2014 school year, teachers from 28 classrooms in the state received up to $2,500 each through the APS/Phoenix Suns STEM Mini-grant program. A total of $50,000 was awarded to support the innovative, student-based projects highlighted below.
phoenix-metro region
Agua Fria High School District, Goodyear
(Verrado, Millennium, Desert Edge & Agua Fria High Schools) 
Project Title: Transformations in Algebra 
DescriptionStudents Algebra 1 classrooms will use technology to observe changes in graphs on graphing calculators. They will begin with linear equations and observe how changing the slope and/or the y-intercept will affect a graph and how parameter changes effect quadratic, polynomial and absolute value functions.
Challenge Charter School, Glendale 
Project Title: Building Future APS Thinkers 
Description: A renewable energy set to allow students to explore renewable energy sources and investigate energy supply, transfer, accumulation, conversion and consumption.
Mesquite Jr. High School, Gilbert 
Project Title: Pour Yourself Into Equations 
Description: Students will be immersed in a lab setting where they collect data generated by their own activities, and then use the data to develop a variety of linear and non-linear models that describe what they have done. Students will understand abstract concepts by providing them with concrete experiences, and help them apply what they have learned to other contextual situations.
Mountain Shadows Elementary, Glendale 
Project Title: Waste Not 
Description: Students will document daily food waste at Mountain Shadows Leadership Academy and use this data to project the expected annual food waste if it were to continue at the current rate. The students will then engage in activities, exploration and research that will guide them to a realistic solution to reducing and/or reusing the food waste.
Sierra Verde School, Glendale 
Project Title: Desert Tortoise Habitat 
Description: This project will teach the kids to use mathematics while budgeting and creating blueprints, engineering to design the structure to fulfill the needs of the tortoise, science to analyze the biological features of a successful habitat, and technology to collect research regarding the tortoise's needs.
Stetson Hills School, Phoenix 
Project Title: Nature’s Bounty 
Description: The outdoor STEM learning center will feature a man-made ecosystem in the form of a fish pond, a student cared-for vegetable and fruit garden for hands-on science lessons, a garden compost system to help students understand the importance of recycling and a small desert habitat to help students learn the life cycles of species and ecosystems.
Sunset Hills Elementary, Surprise 
Project Title: Electricity & Machines 
Description: Snap circuit sets will allow students to explore the basics of circuitry, experiment with green energy solutions and design their own machines. Students will create documentaries to explore how energy is created and stored for on-demand use (fossil fuels vs. green energy) and how that energy is transformed through electrical circuits and machinery.
Surprise Elementary, El Mirage 
Project Title: Math Games 
Description: Math games for the classroom and home will focus on estimation, math riddles, time & money, geometry, measurement, subtraction/addition, multiplication/division, factors/multiples/prime numbers, dice activities for probability and discrete mathematics.
Tempe High School, Tempe 
Project Title: Simple Machines 
Description: Students, some of which have significant learning disabilities, will use KNEX and Legos to build simple machines and study levers, gears, pulleys, wheels and axels.  Activities and lessons will include the laws of motion (inertia, acceleration and friction.)
Tonopah Valley High School, Tonopah 
Project Title: Agriculture Program 
Description: An egg incubator will allow students to learn about the demands of agribusiness including how genetics plays a vital role in the career many of them will pursue.  Students will cross breed chickens and control hatching conditions using the controlled incubator environment.
Valley Vista High School, Surprise 
Project Title: Plant Inspired Solar Panel Design 
Description: In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint from the increased electronic device charging on campus, students will create solar charging stations. Students will design three replicas of an initial solar tree configuration and compare data claims.
Whispering Wind Academy, Phoenix 
Project Title: World of Whispering Windom 
Description: The "World of Whispering Windom," will be designed, engineered and built by students. Each grade level will be responsible for building a specific element, involving research, blueprints, measuring, engineering, collaboration and communication.
Wickenburg High School, Wickenburg 
Project Title: BMX Buddies 
Description: In this after-school BMX Buddies program, targeted special needs students will be paired with a high school peer buddy. Using approved STEM curriculum, students will design and build their bike, study the safety equipment used in biking and create their own BMX bike track.
Wigwam Creek Jr. High, Litchfield Park 
Project Title: Green Screen Adventures in Science 
Description: Students will create a movie about the impact of the scientific community and troubleshoot solutions to environmental problems. They will learn screen writing, cinematography, soundtrack production, digital FX, sound FX, digital publication environmental stewardship and the importance of scientific innovation.
Wilson Primary School, Phoenix 
Project Title: Math Supplemental Manipulatives 
Description: Students will be provided with math kits that they can keep and use throughout the year, in the classroom and at home. The kits will also be used as a tutoring guide to help students who need the extra support.
northeast region
Summit High School, Flagstaff 
Project Title: Bike Riding and Maintenance Program 
Description: In the science of cycling, students will learn about bike design, components, assembly and frames, as well as aerodynamics, drive train and gears as they relate to the functioning of a bicycle. Students will use mechanical skills to maintain the bikes and explore engineering concepts that will include the function of the gears, gear ratios, speed and friction.
northwest region
Liberty Traditional School, Prescott Valley 
Project Title: STEAM Reading Garden 
Description: Delta weather science kits will be utilized for presentations, demonstrations, and lessons surrounding a student-made garden. Students will study archaeology, agriculture and meteorology during which they will use a weather station and report the local weather to a radio station.
West Sedona Elementary, Sedona 
Project Title: Simple Machines and Robotics 
Description: Teachers will be provided with WeDo Lego Robotics education kits and Lego Technic kits for teaching how robots and simple machines function. The Lego Bricks in Space program will allow students to use scientific methods to investigate the effect of micro gravity on simple machines and examine force and friction. 
southeast region
Eloy Jr. High, Eloy 
Project Title: Introduction to Cells 
Description: This project will introduce students to cells, cell processes, heredity, DNA and human genetics. They will design and build their own microscopes to observe plant and animal cells, mitosis and DNA from a strawberry.  Students will identify how cells and heredity vary from one person to another.
Eloy Jr. High, Eloy 
Project Title: Looking to the Sun for Energy 
Description: Students will research solar energy and will design/build their own solar cookers to cook eggs. During the project students will collect, organize, display, interpret and draw conclusions from experimental data. They will create a brochure explaining their process of inquiry and the creative process in designing and constructing their solar cookers.
Magma Ranch K-8, Florence 
Project Title: Erosion & Deposition Stream Tables 
Description: Eight stream table sets and a laboratory investigation manual will be used to examine how erosion and deposition create rivers and lakes, identify how conditions vary between deltas and alluvial fans and create a small building that would be able to tolerate various forms of erosion and deposition.
Magma Ranch K-8, Florence 
Project Title: Promoting Proper Water Management 
Description: Students will learn about and observe the water treatment process through a field trip and expert lecture about a waste water treatment plant. In the classroom, students will design, construct and test a filtration process and will set up a rain garden in the school yard.
southwest region
Somerton Middle School, Somerton 
Project Title: STEM Research School 
Description: Students will conduct soil sampling, water analysis, design their own solar still and create their own version of an ecosystem in a bottle. Through these projects students will exercise important early scientific skills, including observing, measuring, classifying, communicating data, inferring and predicting.
Cesar Chavez Elementary, San Luis 
Project Title: STEM Club/Solar Cars 
Description: A new STEM club for Title 1/low income students will research solar power and renewable resources before designing their own solar cars, paying close attention to the efficiency, power and weight of the vehicle. The cars will be entered into a student competition and participants will be rewarded with a field trip that highlights solar energy. 
Yuma Union High School District FFA, Yuma 
Project Title: Lower Colorado River Ecology 
Description: During two STEM research projects in the Yuma East Wetlands, students will explore bird diversity and insect pollination of native plants. Each unit will include a field trip to conduct scientific investigations, as well as pre-visit activities to introduce students to the subject matter and a post-visit project to conclude the unit.

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how to apply - new applicants

Follow these instructions if you have not applied for funds this year.

  1. Enter your e-mail address. This will be your new account login ID.
  2. Select “I am a new online applicant,” then click on the “Continue” button.
  3. Confirm your e-mail address by typing it in again
  4. Create and confirm your own user specific password
  5. Click on “Create an Account”
  6. Click on the “OK” button and you will be directed to the online application
apply now
  1. apply now
how to apply - returning applicants

Follow these instructions if you have previously opened the application to view questions or started an application to complete at a later date.

  1. enter your e-mail address
  2. select “I am a returning online applicant”
  3. enter your user created password
  4. you will be forwarded to a window containing all of the applications that you have in progress
contact us

​Thank you for your interest in the APS/Phoenix Suns STEM Mini-grants. We will work hard to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact:

Laura McBride