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Arizona Diamondbacks Honor Kyrene STEM Teacher
Posted September 2021
Tucked away in the foothills of Ahwatukee is Kyrene Altadeña Middle School. Altadeña serves students in grades sixth, seventh, and eighth, is home to the Panthers, and has one of the most popular elective classes in Kyrene. That elective is STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). STEM is the real-world application of the skills and understanding that students are learning in their other classes. Students work together to build projects while their teacher Mr. Daniel Jordan guides them through the problem-solving process. You can feel Mr. Jordan’s passion for STEM education from the moment you walk into his classroom. He makes class fun and engaging. STEM toys and tools like 3D printers and model rockets fill his room to show students how STEM impacts their everyday lives.
"There is no roadmap to STEM education," said Daniel. “In my class, students are encouraged to let curiosity drive the lesson."
This school year marks Mr. Jordan’s 4th year in teaching. In his first year, he taught social studies and a few sections of STEM. When Daniel saw interest in STEM dwindle, he advocated for growing and improving the program across all grade levels. In just three years, Mr. Jordan turned the Altadeña STEM program around. Currently, the school offers eight sections of STEM. When Mr. Jordan took over, the school offered only three sections.
Before becoming a teacher, Mr. Jordan worked for Honeywell and consulted on engineering projects for NASA and the military. Daniel's passion for STEM has taken him around the world, but none of those adventures compare to seeing the spark of curiosity light up in the eyes of his students. Recently, a student nominated Mr. Jordan for a special STEM grant through the Arizona Diamondbacks in partnership with Honeywell.
Altadeña student Addison H. wrote the following nomination about Mr. Jordan for the D-backs Most Valuable Teachers (MVT) in STEM grant. “Mr. Jordan is an awesome STEM teacher. He took a program at school that was not the best and made it one of the most wanted electives at our school. He puts a lot of work into making it as fun as possible while still learning a lot. He lets us work with technology that real engineers are working with like 3D printers. He also shows us things that he has worked on for NASA and other organizations. He also encourages girls to become more involved in STEM.”
The Diamondbacks selected Mr. Jordan and nine other Arizona teachers for their D-backs Most Valuable Teachers in the STEM recognition program. The MLB team gave each educator recognized a $1,000 grant and honored the teachers on the field at the September 24 baseball game. According to the D-backs website, celebrating outstanding STEM educators provides a perfect opportunity to recognize the best-of-the-best and acknowledge their commitment to providing students with the foundation for STEM careers.
“STEM education is about providing students with more project-based, hands-on learning opportunities," said Mr. Jordan. “This grant will go towards purchasing more STEM tools and toys for my classroom."