The Girard School District Foundation awarded three innovative grants in 2015-2016. The grants are designed to encourage faculty to develop and implement projects which will enhance and enrich educational programs and be a direct benefit to our students.
Congratulations to the following faculty and staff:
Elk Valley 2nd Graders Love Scienceâ€”Pond Exploration, Christine Antolik (EVES)
Christine Antolik's project will focus on scientific investigation and living systems through hands-on, outdoor field experiences. This project will design and implement an aquatic science unit for all 2nd grade students at Elk Valley utilizing the Presque Isle Pond Park and Tom Ridge Educational Center resources for field data collection and analysis. The project will help improve the students' knowledge of specific science concepts and their skills in using scientific tools to collect and explore organisms in a live environment. In addition, teachers will gain experience in designing and conducting field-based ecosystem lessons which will benefit their students in the future.
STEM in the Gym, Jason Johnson (EVES)
Jason Johnson has developed a project that will teach Elk Valley students scientific concepts in an unusual way, through physical education. Through his "STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) in the Gym" project students will understand how simple machines such as inclines, levers, pulleys, and wheel and axel systems (among others) are beneficial to our society. It's a fun way to learn core content in a fitness environment and support lessons taught in the traditional classroom. As part of their activities, students will physically use a variety of specialized STEM equipment to kinesthetically learn how simple machines work and help us accomplish tasks. Students will actually experience the mechanical advantage of each simple machine while learning about force, load, work, and more.
Behrend Youth Outreach Program Field Trip, Sheree McConnell (RAMS)
Sheree McConnell's fifth grade students at Rice Avenue Middle School will experience college first-hand when they attend a Youth Outreach Program at Penn State Behrend. A trip to the Yahn Planetarium will fill one part of the day. Just reading about space from a book cannot compare to the experience of seeing the solar system in a planetarium. Students will also head to the science lab where physical and chemical forces are observed, including one exciting explosion. The third part of the day will be spent on an activity using the engineering design process through a hands-on challenge for all of the students. This trip ties in directly with the fifth grade science curriculum and hopefully will help students understand that finding solutions to real-world problems is real learning for life impacting their future and ours!
Create a Programming Buzz with Bee Bots, Donna Miller (EVES)
Another innovative project will utilize "Bee-Bots" to teach fundamental skills of sequencing, estimation and problem solving to children as young as pre-kindergarten. Bee-Bots are small robots that can be moved forward, back, left and right to a specific location on a grid mat using directional keys. Teaching computer science at a young age makes sense. Programming/coding teaches critical thinking, problem solving, logic and creativity â€“ skills needed to succeed in life. It also builds confidence and can have an impact on every career and daily living. Hands-on engineering related learning activities can be used to support lessons taught in other disciplines and improve soft skills, such as communication and teamwork.