Imagine a student looking through a solar telescope for the very first time and experiencing the excitement that comes from discovery. Picture a third grader who has always had a hard time putting pencil to paper, finally become engaged in writing by using LEGO bricks to build a multidimensional image of his story. Envision students learning about food production by building their own hydroponic greenhouse, or creating technologically advanced inventions with a 3D Printer.
Since 1997, the independent, nonprofit Concord Trust has supported these and other innovative educational approaches by awarding over $170,000 in small grants to teachers in Concord schools.
The Trust provides teachers with the opportunity to find creative and exciting new ways to engage students, improve the quality of learning, and assist in the art of discovery. In the 2014-15 academic year, the Concord Trust awarded grants to teachers for the projects listed above and six other innovative ideas to motivate students and improve the classroom experience.
These grants support real, tangible programs that are alive and well within the Concord School District – still benefiting students long after they are granted – a perpetual gift to our students.
Here are some of this years’ projects:
Living in a 3D world
You may have heard of the exciting medical and scientific innovations being fostered by 3D printing. That very same technology is now available to students at Rundlett Middle School, where they are using it to create science models and improve critical thinking skills. While studying famous inventions, students use SketchUp software to draw models and print the inventions. The afterschool 21C club, MakerSpaces, is using the printer to experiment with technology creatively.
At Beaver Meadow Elementary, students are using drumsticks, exercise balls, and music as part of a “whole body, whole mind” fitness program. Drums Alive combines movement therapy, music and sound therapy, and aerobics to engage both hemispheres of students’ brains and assist in the fight against obesity. Seeds 4 the Future—This initiative allows Concord High students to create, nurture, and maintain a collection of sustainable practices. Students are using farming and alternative energy supplies and equipment to develop a working hydroponic growing room and hoop house/greenhouse systems to enhance and expand food production and scientific inquiry.
Story Starter Lego Kits
At Christa McAuliffe School, student teams use Legos to build 3D models of stories. They then use iMotion to create videos of their stories, type them up, and share with the class. This process helps to motivate writing, increase student engagement, and promote teamwork. A Clearer Image—Students at CHS in the engineering, drafting, and architectural drawing classes now can see a real world image of CAD (computer aided design) designs and can present their own drawing via a new 60” LED HDTV. Video Reporters—Journalism and English students at Concord High are using laptops and Adobe Creative Cloud to collaboratively edit audio/video raw material into quality podcasts and video reports.
For more photos of grants in action, please visit http://www.concordtrust.org/grants-in-action/.
Written by Kristin Phillips on behalf of Concord Trust