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Grant Wood Area Education Agency

From The Linker, Spring 2011,
Vol 31, Issue 3

Contact: Grant Wood AEA Communications Office
1-800-332-8488 or (319) 399-6714

STEM grants benefit students in Area 10

by Jim Thornton
CSI Coordinator

During the 2010-11 school year, 11 schools are offering fun, exciting hands on after-school opportunities for literally hundreds of area students.

Since 2006, state grants administered through Grant Wood AEA and the Corridor STEM Initiative partners have provided area schools in grades 3 thru 9 the opportunity to participate in science, technology, math and engineering in an after-school setting. Grants have provided opportunities for over 1,000 students in the past four years.

Students have had the chance for science, mathematics, technology and engineering to come alive through a variety of activities like working with robotics, bridge building, energy and windmills, flight and structures, Rube Goldberg contraptions, EiE kits, water filtration systems, the study of water shed areas and the physics of roller coasters to name a few.

Students and teachers have been able to work side-by-side with engineers and other STEM professionals learning about careers and getting a helping hand on a project or investigation.
Students have been able to visit businesses like Rockwell Collins, hospitals, the Iowa Children’s Museum, the Science Station, the Ice Arena, colleges and universities, and many other community resources as they have researched and investigated their many STEM projects.

Mini-grants, ranging from $1,500 to $8,000, were awarded to 11 schools this school year based on RFP’s describing the emphasis of their program, the theme(s) that would be developed and a description of how they would evaluate the program to see if it made a difference.

The following schools are participating in the STEM After-School Program this year:

First-Year Sites ($8,000)

Hiawatha Elementary, Cedar Rapids Schools

HLV Elementary, HLV Schools

Vernon Middle School, Marion Independent Schools

Second-Year Sites ($8,000)

Mount Vernon Middle School, Mount Vernon Schools

Third-Year Sites ($6,000)

Clear Creek Amana Middle School, Clear Creek Amana Schools

Lemme and Grant Wood elementaries, Iowa City Schools

Lincoln Elementary, Washington Schools

Fourth-Year Sites ($1,500)

Prairie Creek Intermediate Schools, College Community Schools

Prairie Point Middle School, College Community Schools

Hills Elementary, Iowa City Schools

Novak Elementary, Linn-Mar Schools

Funding is not guaranteed from year-to-year, but the Corridor STEM Initiative has received approximately $162,000 from the Iowa Mathematics Science Education Partnership Grant, administered through the University of Northern Iowa, the past two years.

All schools benefit through the help, guidance and support of a teacher-in-residence (TIR). The TIR is a local teacher on loan from a local school district, who helps provide resources, professional development, and support for all of the after-school teachers participating in the program. This year that teacher is Nannette Gunn from the Mount Vernon Community School District.

“As I look at the STEMGrant (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities that have taken place in various schools, I can appreciate what amazing teachers we have in our area giving extra effort in extraordinary ways to ensure that our children have engaging activities to do in these fields,” said Gunn.

For more information, please contact Nannette Gunn, STEM teacher-in-residence, ngunn@gwaea.org, 319-399-6471, or Jim Thornton, CSI coordinator, jdthornton1@msn.com, 319-373-1084.