Supporting Innovative Ideas
The STEM Excitement and Excellence Grants will provide opportunities that encourage student learning, excellence, and interest in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Math.
STEM educators in the Alachua County Public Schools district were invited to complete a full grant application after a one-page abstract was approved by the selection committee. Below are the 2021-2022 STEM Excitement and Excellence Grant Recipients!
STEM Excitement and Excellence Grant Recipients
Jessica Campbell from Buchholz High School: $4,770.79
Sparking Hands-On FUN with Robots in AP Computer Science Principles
This project will allow students to work with hands-on programmable Sphero RVR robots. These robots will encourage students to work together and build their leadership and communication skills, all while overcoming a series of programming challenges. The students at Buchholz will also have a “Hour of Code” activity day with a class of students at Terwilliger Elementary School. The purpose of this activity is to expose elementary students to computer science principles in a fun, engaging format. The AP CSP students will develop the lesson plan and lead the instruction during the “Hour of Code.” The goals of this project are to increase problem solving success among AP CSP students, to increase awareness of STEM career opportunities and create positive STEM experiences for the AP and elementary students, and to improve recruitment of student demographics that are traditionally underrepresented in computer science programs.
Ricky Quintana from Howard Bishop Middle School: $6,655.50
The seven science teachers at Bishop will all use the GizmoMe program, a researched web-based interactive STEM activity platform, in their classrooms. This project aims to support learning gains on the 6th and 7th grade District End of Course exams (DEOC) and the 8th grade Next Generation Sunshine State Standards Science assessment. Last year, GizmoMe was used in a pilot program and students used it to the tune of 15,194 views. Based on these results Bishop will use this grant to have this program implemented and used over the next three years with every student during their science classroom instruction time. The program can be used to supplement guided lectures of abstract science principles and allow students to manipulate variables to discover how these changes affect environments or scenarios. As students work with their Gizmos, the teacher is able to provide feedback on a one-on-one basis as questions arise. This differentiated instruction method allows the teacher to focus on all students and identify any misunderstood concepts, which will also increase student engagement and success.
Ricky Quintana from Howard Bishop Middle School: $3,797.40
This project builds on the 2020-2021 Catalyst for Change project Hawk Connect that allowed 8th grade students to use the Texas Instruments (TI) TI-Nspire™ CX Navigator™ system, TI-Nspire CX calculators, and temperature, pH and gas sensor probes to engage in authentic and simulated STEM activities. This proprietary technology allows the teacher to deliver and collect files, monitor student progress, and share the student’s screen to the class as they navigate the activity. This provides real-time feedback and the ability to share the progress of the student and troubleshoot any misunderstanding of the expected result. Hawk Soar aims to engage the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in creative, engaging and exciting STEM experiences using programmable drones, rovers and microbits in their science classes. Students will be able to address simple and complex STEM scenarios and work as teams to solve real world STEM related problems. The goal of the Hawk Soar project will increase programming knowledge, higher order thinking skills usage and student test scores on the 6th and 7th grade District End of the Course exams (DEOC) and the 8th Next Generation Sunshine State Standards Science assessment.
Chris Dodyk and Kelley Kostamo from the ACPS District Office: $5,000
This project aims to increase student participation in robotics clubs in elementary and middle schools district wide. Students will have the opportunity to build a robot from scratch, then use the robot they’ve built in the VEX IQ Challenge Pitching In game competition for this year. Students compete with other teams to try to get the best score by working together. Learning happens from the engineering and team failures with the ability to modify the robot designs between matches and tournaments. The focus is to help students foster work-necessary skills like collaboration, problem-solving, teamwork and communication. The grant will also provide training to new teachers helping to implement robotic programs at their schools. The goal of this project is to increase participation from 300 to 500+ students so more students can engage in STEM.
Nathaniel Pegg and Natalia Pegg from Hawthorne Middle & High School: $5,000
Student STE(A)M Success
The project will engage 40 students in hands-on STEM activities through 3D printing, Minecraft EDU, KiwiCo Kits and TinkerCAD. Students will participate in weekly activities after school in an environment that creates a positive learning experience. Students will create 3D models in the Minecraft EDU program then use the MakerBot 3D printer to bring their models to life! These activities will promote and develop student curiosity by exposing them to various aspects of science, technology, engineering, art and math.
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