Coconino High School and Sinagua Middle School, Flagstaff, Arizona

Coconino High School runs an integrated STEM program the Coconino Institute of Technology CIT that has been running for over 10 years.  Students complete part of their formal studies via integrated physics, biology and chemistry while also completing technology and engineering projects. Students enjoyed the project based approach in the engineering class and were working on an Arduino programming module when I visited.


The Advanced Physics class was completing a circuits module and the class started with a warm up to generate debate followed by group presentations of previous circuit whiteboard problems and a  lab practical in groups of 4.

Thanks to Christine Sapio and Dave Tessmer for allowing me to observe and talk with students.


Sinagua Middle School runs after school STEM clubs including oceanography and teacher Jillian Worsam has developed a scientist partner program that enables students to be partnered with a scientist to support learning and investigations. The Scientists in the Classroom aims to have Every science student at Sinagua Middle School either paired one on one with a scientific mentor all year, or their science class with a mentor agency/business for an entire academic year.

The Middle School Institute of Technology and Engineering MIT-e program is interesting as it formally integrates STEM into an approved course of study. Students seek admission and undertake a range of project based learning opportunities with a solution or product as an assessment component at conclusion of each topic. Students have developed math skills through water quality studies of a local swimming area and presented their solution to the local mayor. They have been mentored by an architect when designing passive solar homes, Students I met with were enthusiastic about the opportunities offered and valued the hands-on and authentic learning that the MIT-e program delivers. MIT-E is also a pathway into the Coconino High CIT program. MIT-e is approved for grades 6 -8 with specific subjects gaining credit at high school level.

Thanks to Jillian Worssam and Rebecca Yakanin for allowing me to visit and talk with students.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *