2015-2016 MINI GRANT DESCRIPTIONS
Science curriculum advancement throughout the district has been an area that the Foundation has taken great pride in supporting. The five projects implemented in this request are unique to each grade level, and include Mag Lev Racers, Rockets, Bird Adaptations, Rube Goldberg Machines, and the Animal Kingdom. The projects are specific to the elementary and middle schools with older high school students mentoring younger students in academics. Different technologies, engineering and physics are used to promote science. The projects promote a learning environment where anything is possible for our students.
High Altitude Weather Balloon:
The weather balloon was a very exciting interactive project that allowed students to view the different layers of the atmosphere as well as their local and global surroundings. The balloon reaches the edge of the atmosphere so students are able to see the curvature of the earth. Additionally the kit records data such as atmospheric pressure, altitude, temperature, and wind speed on an SD card that can be analyzed by the students. Students learn about weather at a young age in an innovative way.
Barnyard Petting Zoo:
The first graders at Fairview had a unit in which they read Charlotte’s Web. The curriculum focused on life cycles of different animals to include watching chicks hatch and discussing how animals enrich our lives. The Foundation was able to support a request for a traveling petting zoo which allowed the unit to “come alive” and allowed the students to be directly exposed to the animals and themes. This event further piqued their interest, enthusiasm, and engagement for this knowledge.
Owls and Pellet Dissection:
Through a grant from the Foundation, second graders learned how to dissect an owl pellet to include pulling apart and cleaning bones in the pellet using a toothpick. Working in teams, they then learned how to reconstruct the skeleton. This hands-on activity enriched the course work and taught students to work collaboratively to reach a goal. In addition, they were able to hone their science skills as they learned rudimentary dissection methods.
It is well accepted that healthy habits begin in childhood, and children who grow up with an emphasis on fitness will develop lasting healthy living skills. The Foundation was pleased to provide funds to purchase heart rate monitors to enable students to monitor and review their heart rates as they increase their physical activity. Being able to actually read their heart rate encouraged students to engage in greater aerobic activity while learning about the positive effects it has on their heart and overall well-being.
The Foundation enthusiastically supported a request for a skilled, companion dog for the autistic support classrooms at the elementary school. Kimmy, the support dog, encourages expressive/receptive language, fine and gross motor control skills, socialization, and self-help skills. Children learn to give her commands which reinforces the “power” of speech. By supporting this initiative, the Foundation and the school district are committing themselves to enhancing the lives and education of each and every student.
Another first grade endeavor the Foundation supported was the Biome project. The classes spent a week studying the arctic, forest, rainforest, grassland and desert biomes. As part of the coursework, students transformed their pod into representations of each biome. The classrooms (5 in total) chose one of the biomes and worked together to create a creative and informational display on each biome. Additionally, students choose their favorite biome and described the animals, vegetation, and landscape; and then using that description they drew a scene of it on a piece of flexible plastic. The students also chose one animal's covering specific to an adaptation (such as a snake's scales blending into its surroundings) and painted a small piece of wood in its likeness. With help, the students created a nightlight that they could keep by gluing a small flashlight to the wood and bending their designed scene around to create a shade.
The Foundation was excited to fund a makerspace within the Fairview Middle School Library. The makerspace is an area for students to gather, collaborate, invent and learn using several types of materials that support exploration and creation. Students have the opportunity to experience hands-on projects with tinkering items such as Legos and K’nex. Additionally, motors, batteries and other technology kits such as electronic building blocks allow students to take fixed objects and bring them to life. A 3D printer gives students the ability to design and fabricate items, and students can also use their school provided iPads to create stop-motion animation films with various materials in the makerspace.