Power-Up Workshops

Power-Up Workshops 

What’s a Power Up Workshop?

Power Up workshops are designed to boost student engagement in science fairs and to improve the quality and quantity of science fair research and projects entered at the local, national, and international level. At these workshops, students, and educators can gain new knowledge to bring back to their community, learn about new ways to conduct scientific research, and participate in quality programs that are designed to drive student success in STEM.  The curriculum utilizes a 28-page Power Up workbook developed by AISES.  Workshops are interactive, follow the workbook, and utilize audio-visual aids, such as slideshows, flipcharts and small group activities. 

The target audience, for these ½ day workshops, is middle and high school students (grades 5 through 12) and their educators.  Attendance at Power Up Workshops typically consists of educators, parents, and students and can range from 25 to 100 plus individuals, depending upon the community size, number of schools in the region, venue size, and general interest. 

These workshops are a great way to introduce your students to science fairs and to learn what it takes as an educator to get your students ready to participate in local and regional science fairs, or even, the NAIVSEF!  National American Indian Virtual Science and Engineering Fair info can be found online at: http://www.aises.org/programs/pre-college.  Unlike other fairs, your students do not have to travel to participate in the NAIVSEF!


In 2010, AISES staff and a select group of educators and subject matter experts were able to produce the first POWER UP Science Fair Manual and educational workshop that focused on the scientific method, effective project presentations, proper research techniques and information on how to complete the complicated paperwork that is required to produce successful science fair projects.

AISES has presented the manual to four out of its seven regions with thrilling success. More than 150 students and 50 teachers, representing over 25 tribal nations and communities have attended these workshops. Over 85% of the students reported that the POWER UP Science Fair Manual and workshop was helpful. In addition, students reported that they plan to utilize what they had learned for the creation of their own science fair projects at the AISES National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair in addition to other community or state science fairs. (Currently, the AISES fair is now offered as a virtual fair, but there are plenty of “live” fairs throughout the country for high schoolers and middle schoolers!)

Host a Power Up Workshop This Spring!

We’ll come to your community!  AISES has funding from a number of generous sponsors to provide Power Up Workshops across the country.  We anticipate conducting up to 8 workshops this winter/spring 2015.  Interested schools and community organizations need to contact AISES (info provided below) to start the process.  Funders for this year’s Power Up workshops include the United States Department of Energy, Toyota USA Foundation, and Motorola Foundation.

What’s required to Host?

We try to make it as easy and cost-free as possible.  First, host communities/schools need to have or serve a significant Native American/Native Alaskan student population.  Schools or organizations can be on- or off-reservation communities, urban or rural.  All you need to do is be willing to provide a venue large enough for the anticipated students and/or educators with appropriate seating (e.g. classroom, school auditorium, community building, etc.) and help us get the word out.

AISES will provide the rest of the programming at no cost (manuals, presentation materials, presenter).  The workshops can be held during teacher in-service days at schools, in the evening, afterschool, during school, or on a weekend day.  The session could even be presented as part of another event you are already offering!

Process:  Basically the process is: 

  1. AISES contacts communities that respond to this article.
  2. AISES and community work to find and secure a suitable space for the workshop.
  3. Dates are selected.
  4. Logistics are arranged.
  5. AISES and the community promote the workshop event.
  6. Workshop is held and brief (we mean brief) evaluations collected.
  7. Evaluations are analyzed (we do this).

How do I start the process?

If you are an authorized individual from a school or community, please send an email to Kathy DeerInWater, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Research at kdeerinwater@aises.org​, indicating your interest, number and types of potential attendees you expect to have in attendance, your community location, possible sites for holding the event, and some desirable dates. You may also view the Power Up Science Fair Manual.