Our Work for Educators

Supporting STEM Across All Grade Levels Through Classroom Grants

The Education Foundation of Collier County – Champions For Learning’s Classroom Grants program successfully helped many educators incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) into their curriculums. During the 2023-2024 school year, 139 STEM-focused grants were awarded to educators across Collier County, totaling nearly $73,000. Classroom STEM projects positively impact K-12 students by introducing and building unique and valuable skills. Educators who utilize STEM-focused activities teach their students how to become confident problem solvers through exploration, critical thinking, and creativity.

At St. Elizbeth Seton Catholic School, first grade teacher Megan Schuchman utilized an awarded Classroom Grant to purchase Bee-Bot Hive Bundles and introduce her students to the world of robotics. The Bee-Bots help teach sequencing, estimation, problem solving, coding, and computational thinking. Using a series of command cards, her students entered directional movements and pauses into the Bee-Bot to design their own simple or complex programs, and then watched their robot take off on the floor and through a series of mazes they created. Since the Bee-Bot always turns at 90 degrees and each forward or backward command consists of a length of six inches, Megan’s students needed to create their programs with specific instructions in mind. Through trial and error and by working collaboratively in teams, students learned how to program their Bee-Bot to successfully travel through their mazes.

Eighth grade mathematics teacher Kathy Albanese purchased a set of Re-Write Max Kids Writing Tablets with a successful Classroom Grant project that increased her students’ engagement with the learning material. By using the tablets to work through various equations and problems, students in Pre-Algebra, Algebra Honors, and Geometry Honors classes at Marco Island Charter Middle School had an easy-to-read tool that allowed them to display their solutions and discuss their processes step-by-step with their fellow classmates and teacher. Not only did implementing the tablets into the curriculum increase participation, but they also accommodated different learning styles and made math class more enjoyable for students.

Science teacher Richard (Bart) Thomas used an awarded Classroom Grant project to build Safe Solar viewers for students of all ages enrolled

at the Alternative Schools to gain a unique and hands-on learning experience about astronomy, specifically, the composition of the sun. Each SVV was made using a ULINE box equipped with lenses that safely produce a quality image of the sun on a white cardstock screen. Unlike certified eclipse glasses, the SVVs magnify the image of the sun and do not distort the color. Students used the SVVs not only to observe the October 2023 and April 2024 solar eclipses without risk of injury but also to take measurements of sunspot positions in order to calculate the rotation rate of the sun. Because of the Earth’s rotation, students realized that they needed to keep adjusting their SVV to ensure the solar image remained on the screen for them to complete calculations and record photos.

Megan, Kathy, and Bart developed truly innovative STEM activities to support their students’ learning that were brought to fruition because of Champions For Learning’s Classroom Grants program. By providing access to grant funding, the program alleviates the need for educators to use their own money to purchase supplies and curriculum materials their students need to succeed. Will you support our educators by making a gift to fund their Classroom Grant projects for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year? Your investment enhances education in Collier County.

Click here for make a gift to support Classroom Grants.