STEM Challenge Grant Recipients for 2017 Cycle 2 Announced

We had another round of very competitive submissions for our second STEM Challenge Grant funding cycle of 2017.

We appreciate the efforts of all applicants who submitted proposals for this cycle.

We congratulate the following grant recipients for this funding period:

  • Jesse Byers from Fairfield Center School – Sugarbush Forest Inventory and Bird Habitat Assessment
    • Fairfield Center School has a strong Outdoor Classroom program which includes watershed, gardening, and sugaring units in middle school. In order to better integrate scientific and engineering practices into the sugaring unit, we plan to have our 8th grade students conduct biannual forest inventories and bird habitat assessments in various sugarbushes around the community. Students will learn the field methods involved with these inventories and assessments, including taking bearings, measuring transects and plot areas, identifying tree and bird species, making various measurements of various trees, and making observations and estimates of ground cover, understory, and canopy densities.  After learning these methods, students will be able to visit sugarbush plots of various types (such as traditional buckets vs. tubing) and conduct the forest inventories and bird habitat assessments. Students will be able to record, organize, and analyze data so that they can present their findings and recommendations to landowners. Students will be able to share the elements of the sugarbush that are beneficial to various bird species and why this is important to the overall health of the forest, and make recommendations for sugarbush management.
  • Carol Lizotte from Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union After School and Summer Programs – MVU and Swanton Maker Camps
    • Maker Camp will provide opportunities to explore a variety of technology with an emphasis on creative expression.
      — MVU Maker Camp: One week of Maker Camp fun during the month of July meeting 4 hours each morning in July Monday-Friday. Youth from grades 7 -12 have opportunities to explore creating with a variety of materials and equipment ranging from soldering, 3D printing, Little Bits, LEDs, Makey Makeys and more. At the end of each day youth will share their creations with their peers.
      — NEW Swanton Makers Camp: Two – one week of Maker Camp fun during the month of July meeting 4 hours each morning in July, Monday-Friday. Youth from grades 2-4 one week and 5 & 6 the following week, will have opportunities to explore creating with a variety of materials and equipment ranging from 3D printing, Snap Circuits, Little Bits, LEDs, Makey Makeys and more. At the end of each day youth will share their creations with their peers.
      –Both Makers Camp sites will be an “affiliate Maker Camp” with the national Make organization that provides activities and some materials (MakerCamp.com). Our MVU Makers Camp will continue into its third year as a free program for middle school age youth, lead by a licensed teacher. Our NEW Swanton Makers Camp will be a fee based camp offered two weeks for different age groups: one week for incoming grades 2 – 4 and a second week of incoming grades 5 & 6, facilitated by the Swanton School Librarian. This grant would be split between the two sites. With the assistance of this grant we will be able to reduce the fee for the Swanton Makers Camp from $100 for the week to $75 for the week, and set aside for four free class spots (of the 12 weekly class slots) allocated to students who families qualify for free reduced lunch (income challenged).
  • Pete Symula from BFA Saint Albans – First Technical Challenge Robotics Team
    • First Technical Challenge (FTC) is designed for students in grades 7-12 to compete head to head around the world with more than 300,000 students world competing world wide. Teams are responsible for designing, building, and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams. The robot kit is reusable from year-to-year, however as the competition changes additional, sensors, software and hardware is often needed. Teams, including coaches, mentors and volunteers, are required to develop strategy and build robots based on sound engineering principles.  Awards are given for the competition as well as for community outreach, design, and other real world accomplishments.
      Goals for students to learn during the process:
      -Practicing gracious professionalism
      -Design, build, and program robots
      -Apply real-world math and science concepts
      -Develop problem-solving, organizational, and team-building skills
      -Compete and cooperate in alliances and tournaments
      -Compete for a spot in the World Championship
      -Qualify for over $30 million in college scholarships of which we have had three students receive grants totaling nearly $100,000 worth of scholarship money for being part of the the team.
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