iLEAD Exploration Remains Open Virtually for Learners

iLEAD Exploration continues to operate its independent study model in an entirely virtual format. Click here for resources.

Aug 23, 2020 @ 01:00

Project Based Learning

Our News & Events

Virtual Science Fair 2021- Step 1: Observation


Last week, you may have seen our flier for our upcoming Virtual Science Fair. It’s time to get started. Below you will find some helpful ideas to complete step 1 of your science project.

“What big eyes you have”… to make great big OBSERVATIONS! The scientific process begins with making observations from the world all around us! This initial process of collecting information involves more than just our eyes of course! We must teach our learners to use all of their senses to gather these observations. Try engaging in one of these activities to activate your five senses!

5 Senses Popcorn Investigation

Five Sense Interactive & Engaging

Poetry 5 Senses

Health Five Senses Activity

With these activities, we hope to inspire your scientific observations as you begin to ponder your participation in the upcoming iLEAD Science Fair (to be held virtually in the spring). Please register here if you would like to be a part of this fun experience! All submissions will need to be turned in by January 15, 2021.

Design Your Own Pumpkin Bot

This Halloween, take pumpkin carving to a different dimension by creating your very own pumpkin bot. Children can be given the opportunity to design their mini “pumpkin bot” using nuts, bolts, and anything else they have on hand to work with. Their imagination is the limit! There is no cutting involved, only innovation! Pumpkin bots are encouraged to live with the designer afterward! Have fun creating!

Young Filmmakers Challenge


The Young Filmmakers Challenge invites young people to produce and submit a short film based on the theme “What if school as we know it didn’t exist?”

Winning submissions will be screened and an awards ceremony will be held in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2020. The screening will be the culminating event of a three-day, city-wide celebration of unleashing the power of young people. The producer of the best overall film will receive $250 and, along with one guest, an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC.

This nationwide challenge is open to anyone 18, and under and submissions will be accepted February 15-April 1. Winners will be announced on April 15.

Check out Education Reimagined for more details.

Camp Kindle Service Opportunity


Camp Kindle provides a five-day summer camp for children ages 5-12 with various special needs and medical complications. They are in search of volunteers for their upcoming session, and YOU may be just what they need, as people of all ages can contribute!

Activities for campers are built around art, science, music, math, and much more! The week concludes with a picnic and project showcase for campers and their families!

This year’s camp session will be held June 17-21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. For more information, visit Project Kindle’s website HERE or contact Glorimar “Minnow” at or (626) 736-8294.

iLEAD Experiments Launch to ISS

space 2

The progress of DreamUp 2019 has been building for months, as so many learners have risen to the challenge of creating a real-world experiment designed to help us learn more about the effects of microgravity. We had over 600 learners, family, and community members in attendance at the iLEAD Space and Innovation Expo on December 7, which was our first peek at the innovation of our iLEAD scientists. Their projects have gone through many steps, including drafts, rewrites, rubrics, more edits, the narrowing down to 27 experiments, more work, the narrowing down to nine, more work, and video pitches, which we have shared on the iLEAD Student Aerospace blog as well as social media. We want to congratulate the hundreds of iLEAD learners and dozens of facilitators who were inspired to participate in the DreamUp 2019 challenge.

The beauty of the DreamUp program at iLEAD is that even if your learner’s original idea for an experiment wasn’t picked, they still can be a part of the DreamUp team. There is still much work to be done to get these experiments launch ready, and the project teams will expand. Applications will go out in the fall Monday Message to recruit additional learners to build out the DreamUp 2019 team!

The three teams selected for flight aboard the ISS are:

“What is the Effect of Microgravity on Mycelium?” (SCVi, 11th grade)

  • Team Members: Brayden Hall, Connor Raskin, Mario Robles, Adam Simpson (Click here to see the team’s video pitch)

“What is the Effect of Microgravity on Ulva Lactuca?” (SCVi, 4th/5th grade)

  • Charlie Halvorsen, Gabriel Olmos, Maliah Sanmarti, Skye Van Verseveld (Click here to see the team’s video pitch.)

“What is the Effect of Microgravity on Aloe Vera?” (Agua Dulce 5th/6th grade, Lancaster 6th grade)

  • iLEAD Agua Dulce learners Cody Anderson, Leo Cuellar, Samantha Diem, and Kaylee Pippin
  • iLEAD Lancaster learners Brianna Angel, Ana Lopez Barahona, Mariana Lopez, Estrella Perez, Uriah Mack, and Lizette Monze Trujillo
  • Click to see the video pitches from Agua Dulce and Lancaster.

The assessor team concluded that, given the similarities, both Aloe Vera teams have been selected and should merge and work together to optimize their experiment. This is common practice within the science community, collaborating to produce best results.

2019 PBS Kids Writers Contest


Calling all learners in Kindergarten through 3rd grade! PBS SoCal is hosting a writer’s contest, and YOU are invited to participate! Enter your story or poem to win prizes and have your work published online! Each entry must be an original work, written and illustrated by the entrant. First, second, and third place winners will be chosen from each grade, and every child who submits an original piece will receive a certificate of appreciation for their participation.

Visit the PBS SoCal website HERE to learn more! Entries are being accepted through Monday, May 6th. Ready, set, write!

iLEAD Students Prepare for Launch to Space Station


A team of iLEAD students is preparing to send a science experiment aboard the SpaceX-16 Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) scheduled to launch on December 4.

The project is part of a partnership between iLEAD and DreamUp, the leading provider of space-based educational opportunities. The students’ experiment, which will be on the ISS for approximately four weeks, tests whether black coffee kills a type of bacteria found in everyday plaque on teeth in microgravity in the same way it does on Earth. This launch opportunity is made possible via DreamUp’s partnership with NanoRacks and its Space Act Agreement with NASA.

Click here to read more!

And visit here to watch the livestream of the rocket launch on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m. EST!

Apple Science


Have you ever wondered why apples turn brown? Did you know that browning is actually a chemical reaction? Here is an interesting hands-on science experiment to help your learner understand oxidation. This activity is perfect for your younger learners.

Before you start, you may want to explain that browning in apples occurs because of a chemical reaction between oxygen and an enzyme in apples. This process is called oxidation. It is important to note that there are certain substances that will prevent the apple from browning. Please see below for a list of supplies and simple directions. Have your learner make predictions and record their observations.


  • apples
  • five small bowls
  • water
  • lemon juice
  • vinegar
  • baking soda
  • milk

Simply cut your apple up into pieces and place one piece into each of your five small bowls. Cover each apple with one of your substances (water, lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda) . Label the bowls so that you can identify the substance. Let the apples sit for several hours and then record your observations. Don’t tell, but lemon juice works the best. Lemon juice has an enzyme called ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The oxygen reacts with this before the apple enzymes and prevents the apple from browning. This is a great trick for keeping sliced apples nice and crisp for on the go families. Enjoy!

Here is a recording sheet that you can use if you like:


More than 400 Attend iLEAD Space and Innovation Expo


Over 400 iLEAD learners and family members, along with their facilitators, gathered at College of the Canyons for our first iLEAD Space and Innovation Expo to celebrate DreamUp to Space student achievement. In partnership with DreamUp, students explored microgravity (what astronauts experience in space), the International Space Station and the engineering design process in order to develop and propose an experiment that could be run on ISS, as well as Mission Patch designs, with the end goal of actually sending an iLEAD experiment to space. Dr Jacob Cohen, chief scientist at NASA Ames, shared an inspirational message about the future of space exploration.
Experiment proposals and mission patch designs were received from learners from iLEAD Encino, iLEAD Lancaster, iLEAD AV, iLEAD Pacoima, Innovation Studios Middle School, Lancaster and SCVi. Guests had the opportunity to interact with the COC Astronomy and Physics and Makerspace clubs, NASA SOFIA pilot Manny Antimisirias and SOFIA mission patch designer Liem Bahneman, as well as enjoy hands-on “maker” items like an LED Blinkie and laser cutter name badge.
Experiment and mission patch design finalists will be posted on the iLEAD aerospace website.

It’s Time to DreamUp an Experiment for Space!



STEM Park Day in Valencia


We had our first STEM Park Day in Valencia. Learners had to create a shelter to protect a pilgrim from wind, rain, and snow. After they created their shelter, we tested it by making sure it could withstand wind, keep the pilgrim dry from rain, and then we made sure it wouldn’t collapse with the weight of snow (water bottle weight). It was a great time designing and building these shelters and we made new friends, too!

Please join us on December 14 for our next STEM Park Day.


Math and Project Based Learning

If you’re interested in finding some excellent math resources pertaining to project based learning, 21st Century Educational Technology Learning has some terrific ideas. There are links to numerous websites that may just spark your learner’s passion for exploring math in new and exciting ways!

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program

Attention all fifth to 12th-grade iLEAD learners!

You are invited to be part of the SSEP Mission 11 to the International Space Station (ISS) by:
Learning about microgravity to answer why astronauts float
Exploring the mission of ISS
Immersing yourself in scientific experimentation
Designing an experiment & writing a proposal for an experiment to be run on ISS
You can form a team or work on your own to design and write a proposal.

To learn more about SSEP, visit here !

For more information email, Jennifer Kimbell by Wednesday, September 28.


All learners in grades K-12 are also invited to design a mission patch that represents iLEAD’s involvement in SSEP. Here is the winning patch designed for iLEAD’s SSEP Mission 10 to ISS:

If you are interested in designing a patch, please contact Jennifer Kimbell by Friday, September 30.

Kathleen Fredette, iLEAD director of STEAM Initiatives, will also support learners interested in SSEP.

iLEAD Online Courses

Technology has revolutionized flexibility and options in education!
iLEAD Online is a personalized learning program available for all current 6th-12th grade iLEAD learners enrolled at one of our iLEAD schools or programs. iLEAD promotes the philosophy of learners as leaders, servers, problem-solvers, creators, collaborators and deep thinkers.

Under the talented, experienced leadership of Director Erin Jones and her team , iLEAD Online courses encourage all of those qualities and provide the flexibility of online learning. All iLEAD learners have access to our course catalog of innovative, project-based online courses.

iLEAD Online courses are created, written, developed and managed by our own facilitators. The online format emphasizes instructor availability, communication and access to ensure success. Our courses are flexible, project-based, and customizable to best fit the passions, interests and needs of the learner.

For more information about the program, visit here . The pricing is amazing! Fees for Exploration learners are $240 per semester/each course. Middle school learners may choose two courses each semester. Learners should create a learning plan with their EF and then enroll here .

Big SSEP News!


Congratulations, iLEAD! It is official! The following experiment is among 10 flight experiments chosen for SSEP Mission 10 to the ISS:

“The Effects of Microgravity on Oxidation” from SCVi’s Dustin M. Fields (11th grade), Alec B. Lewis (11th grade), Kai R. Turner (11th grade).

The experiment will undergo official NASA Toxicology Flight Safety Review beginning in September 2016.

To everyone at iLEAD Schools who participated in this program, thank you for your hard work and dedication.

US Teens Win International Rocketry Challenge


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