Programs We Support

Tucson Village Farm

Tucson Village Farm (TVF) is a working urban farm built by and for the youth of our community. A program of the Pima County Cooperative Extension and the University of Arizona, TVF is a seed-to-table program designed to reconnect young people to a healthy food system, teach them how to grow and prepare fresh food, and empower them to make healthy life choices. To accomplish this, Tucson Village Farm offers year-round, instructional, hands-on programs for youth of all ages. We target urban youth from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Mini LEO Program (Manzo Elementary School, Borton Elementary School, JB Wright Elementary School, Mansfeld Middle School)

The Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) sits under the glass at Biosphere 2 (B2) and consists of three large-scale, artificial hill slopes embedded with thousands of sensors. LEO is designed to help scientists understand how water, energy, and carbon move through the landscape and how Earth’s landscapes change as climate changes. The mini-LEO is a micro scale LEO model designed to allow K-12 students, in communities most vulnerable to the adverse affects of climate change, to engage in B2 participatory research. Volunteers of the mini LEO program would be involved in creating and/or refining in and outdoor lesson plans and activities using or relating to the mini LEO models, evaluating the mini LEO program, and conducting lessons and activities with students at each of the above-mentioned schools.

iSTEM: Engaging Native American Youth in STEM

iSTEM engages 3rd – 8th grade Native American students in informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities. iSTEM is a National Science Foundation funded project. Working with three k-12 public schools in southern Arizona, the iSTEM project combines a mentoring program with informal science activities. During the activity students are paired with a guide who is a university student. The informal science activities are thematically driven (e.g., solar energy; mapping and GIS; soils, space and Earth; watershed; ecology, health) and include hands-on “flash” STEM activities engaged in during student lunch breaks along with a thematically related community-located field trips.

Optics Outreach Program

Through this program, students learn how to conduct and build optical science demonstrations and then take these demos on the road to local schools and community events where they use the equipment they built to demonstrate the basic principles of light and get K-12 students excited about optical science. A required training for this program will be on January 22nd at 5pm. 

Manzo Elementary

Manzo is on its way to adopting a 100% ecology-based curriculum utilizing its extensive ecology resources right on campus (tortoise habitat, vegetable gardens, pollinator and native Sonoran desert gardens, aquaponic system, rainwater harvesting cisterns) and STEM programming fits perfectly with this vision. We have several new teachers this year who are not experienced in utilizing these ecology resources in their classroom curriculum. Students placed with this school would support these as well as veteran teachers to make the most of these resources both in the classroom and working independently with small groups outside the classroom. Green Academy curriculum is available for use.  In addition to assisting teachers with the development and implementation of ecology curriculum, Manzo also has an after school Science Club that students may be placed with. Through this club, students learn the scientific method by developing and carrying out a small-scale research project over the course of 10 weeks. 

STEMAZing Project, Pima County Superintendent’s Office

The STEMAZing Project is working to improve STEM education in Southern Arizona and beyond. This is accomplished through e-newsletters, professional development for teachers and outreach events for students and families. Students placed with this program will work on a variety of projects, including: social media outreach, newsletter editing, website updates, logistics for workshops, and much more. Some choice would be involved to find a good fit for the skill set and interests of each intern. It should be a good balance of original work along with some administrative responsibilities.

Mansfeld Middle School: 8th Grade Engineering Course and After School Clubs

Throughout this course, students develop an understanding of different scientific and mathematical principles and use them to complete engineering design challenges. These challenges range from creating bristle bots using simple electrical engineering to participating in the egg drop challenge after studying EDL (entry, descent and landing) engineering basics. This is only the second year of the program, and we are currently writing and rewriting our own curriculum for the course. Students placed in this program would be asked to help 8th grade groups develop their projects while following specific guidelines, as well as help develop potential projects the students could be doing.  Mansfeld also offers a number of opportunities for students to engage in STEM activities outside of the regular school day.  This year, there is a robotics club that meets two days a week (Tuesdays/Thursdays) and a GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) club that meets Mondays before and after school. 

Outdoor Learning and Robotics at Borton Elementary

Borton's outdoor learning program consists of utilizing the many gardens and 2.5 native desert habitat located on school grounds to provide our Pre-Kinder through 5th students with outdoor STEAM projects/lessons. Our focus this year will be on GIS/GPS, phenology, and agriculture. If placed at Borton, you would be working with small groups of students on data collection, data analysis, mapping, and much more.  Borton also has an after school robotics club as part of their 21st Century Program. This club meets everyday other than Wednesday from 3-4:30pm. 

STEM at Amphi Middle School

During the fall 2015 school year, Amphi Middle School will be offering a wide-variety of STEM opportunities for students.  Students that sign-up with this site placement will have the opportunity to assist with a Civil Engineering course that will be focused around creative ways to manage waste in the 21st century, as well as after school MESA and robotics clubs.  This placement is great for students interested in learning more about science education and fostering interest in STEM through hands-on activities!  


Click here to see a map of the site placement locations.