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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 of up to $2,500 will be awarded to K-12, public and charter school teachers for innovative hands-on STEM projects in the classroom.

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.

A total of up to $50,000 is available for grants in the 2016-2017 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 are now open for Spring 2017 projects.
Approved grants will be provided to the school or school district for distribution to the teacher recipient who will use the grant money in accord​ance with the approved budget. The sc​hool 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 2016-2017 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  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
  • equipment such as office machines, computers, tablets, phones, cameras, etc.
  • individual competitive teams (i.e., robotics)
August 8, 2016: Application Opens
October 5, 2016: Application Closes
November 8, 2016: Applicants notified of decisions
December 2016: Funds disbursed​

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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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2015-2016 project summaries
Teachers from 26 classrooms in the state received up to $2,500 each for hands-on projects that promote learning around science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics. A total of $50,000 was awarded to support the innovative, student-based projects highlighted below.
Alta Loma Elementary, Peoria   
Students Impacted: 27
Project Title: Classroom Worm Farm and Garden 
Grant: $1,800
Description: Alta Loma fourth-grade students will create a classroom worm farm and garden center to provide opportunities to study science and math applications. They will design, construct and maintain the farm.
Cactus High School, Glendale   
Students Impacted: 350
Project Title: Picture This: A Snapshot of Desert Ecology   
Grant: $2,500
Description:  Cactus High students will use cameras and other equipment to monitor the desert landscape and native wildlife in the White Tanks Regional Park. The data gathered will be used in the classroom for scientific discovery.
Dysart Unified District, Surprise  
Students Impacted: 300
Project Title: We Are Makers  
Grant: $2,400
Description: Sixth-grade students across the district will use cutting-edge technology, immersing themselves in the makerspace curriculum, learning to create and design. 
Eagle Ridge Elementary, Phoenix  
Students Impacted: 75
Project Title: Food Sustainability for the 21st Century  
Grant: $2,400
Description:  The students will work collaboratively to explore and practice vertical farming using an aeroponic growing system called the Tower Garden.
Glendale Landmark School, Glendale 
Students Impacted: 100
Project Title: Computer Sciences Middle School Career Exploration  
Grant: $1,300
Description: The school will create a computer science camp  to provide opportunities for students to experience computer programming, technology and engineering opportunities.
Medical, Engineering and Technology Professional Academy, Peoria Students
Impacted: 50
Project Title: Microcontrollers 
Grant: $500
Description:  This project is designed to introduce high school students to micro-processors and their applications.  It will allow students to learn to program in different integrated design environments.
Mountain View School, Phoenix  
Students Impacted: 148
Project Title: A STEM Sleepover for Students   
Grant: $2,000
Description: Sixth-grade students will stay overnight at Lake Pleasant to participate in eight, hands-on classes related to science, engineering, social studies, and team building led by the Desert Outdoor center rangers.
Peoria High School, Peoria  
Students Impacted: 65
Project Title: STEM Engineering: M.E.S.A Club  
Grant: $1,500
Description:  Funded activities, experiments and challenges given to the students come from Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement and are presented through an after school program designed to increase the numbers of under-represented groups in college majors and professions related to STEM. 
Sandpiper Elementary, Phoenix   
Students Impacted: 200
Project Title: Code those Robots  
Grant: $800
Description:  The school will purchase Finch robots to introduce coding and other STEM concepts to the students.
Sonoran Foothills School, Phoenix   
Students Impacted: 180
Project Title: Forensic Scientists   
Grant: $2,300
Description:  Students will explore how forensic science is used in criminal investigations and apply the principles of forensic science to a hypothetical crime and take on the role of crime scene investigators to solve a case.
Sunset Heights, Peoria  
Students Impacted: 120
Project Title: Singing Plants & Banana Pianos: Exploring Circuitry and Programming  
Grant: $1,500
Description: "Makey-Makey" devices will give fifth graders an opportunity to get hands-on experience with developing and programming electrical circuitry in very "outside the box" ways.
Tartesso Elementary, Tonopah  
Students Impacted: 60
Project Title: After-school Science Club at Tartesso Elementary  
Grant: $2,400
Description:  Activities in the Science Club will allow students to experiment and explore scientific concepts with hands-on projects.
Trivium Preparatory Academy, Goodyear  
Students Impacted: 452
Project Title: Digging Deeper into Dissection and DNA  
Grant: $2,000
Description:  Science models and materials for the Life Science and Biology classes will assist students in learning about cells, anatomy of both humans and animals, DNA and evolution.
Western Sky Middle School, Litchfield Park   
Students Impacted: 180
Project Title: What Floats Your Boat  
Grant: $1,600
Description: Eight-grade students will design, model and fabricate a boat to explore math and science skills. The students will then test their boats on the water.
Bagdad Elementary, Bagdad  
Students Impacted: 70
Project Title: If We Build It, They Will Learn  
Grant: $2,500
Description:  Fourth- and fifth-grade students will be introduced to a fundamental understanding of simple machines, structures and mechanisms using the Mechanisms Classroom Pack from Lego.
Northland Preparatory Academy, Flagstaff  
Students Impacted: 670
Project Title: I’m Lichen It 
Grant: $2,500
Description:  Students will be part of a team that will collect and analyze data to determine the effects of a changing climate using gardens along an elevation gradient.
Show Low High School, Show Low  
Students Impacted: 810
Project Title: All Season Aquaponics 
Grant: $2,500
Description:  Funding supports a student-run aquaponics STEM business being developed by the Show Low High School Stem Club. 
Sinagua Middle School, Flagstaff 
Students Impacted: 215
Project Title: Renewable Energy  
Grant: $2,500
Description: Students will learn about ways to obtain clean energy by being led through interactive activities that have a heavy emphasis on the engineering design process.
Coyote Springs Elementary, Prescott Valley 
Students Impacted: 90
Project Title: A True STEAM Experience: An Excursion to the Biosphere 
Grant: $2,500
Description:  Students will experience Earth's largest living science center dedicated to exploring the environment, the future and our planet.
Model Creek School, Peeples Valley   
Students Impacted: 16
Project Title: STEM Club  
Grant: $2,000
Description:  Students will learn with the Full Option Science System, introducing hands-on activities into the STEM club.
Circle Cross Ranch K-8 STEM Academy, Florence 
Students Impacted: 240
Project Title: Creating a STEM-based Curriculum and Lab 
Grant: $2,500
Description:  STEM-related mini-units will introduce students and their teachers to the engineering and design process.
Eloy Jr. High, Eloy    
Students Impacted: 130
Project Title: Forensic Detectives: Who did it?  
Grant: $2,000
Description: Students will learn to apply scientific discovery while solving a crime case using forensics.
Evergreen Elementary, Casa Grande 
Students Impacted: 15
Project Title: Me Gusta Robatics    
Grant: $800
Description:  Students will explore robotics in a dual-language program, introducing ELL students to science and math skills.
Ironwood Elementary, Casa Grande  
Students Impacted: 75
Project Title: Engineering is Elementary 
Grant: $2,500
Description: All fourth grade students at Ironwood will have the opportunity to participate in STEM Club, using kits that incorporate science, technology, mathematics, with a heavy focus on engineering.
Somerton Middle School, Somerton 
Students Impacted: 150
Project Title: Solar Car Design  
Grant: $700
Description: Students will design a scale model car that uses a solar cell to power an electric motor car to meet a set design criteria.
Wenden Elementary School, Wenden  
Students Impacted: 41
Project Title: Solar Power – Direct and Indirect   
Grant: $2,000
Description:  Students will be introduced to solar power as an alternative energy source and will compare efficiencies of direct solar power and indirect solar power.

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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

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
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