21 grants were awarded in 2015, including expeditionary learning units, a 3-D printer, robotic supplies, books to enhance curricula, and much much more. For a complete list of the grants awarded from the initial grant cycle, click here (PDF), or see below for photos and descriptions. We thank the teachers for the creativity, innovation, and time it took to create and submit these ideas! Keep visiting our Grants in Action page as we add more pictures and descriptions from our inaugural grant year.
Junior High Robotics
Prior to receiving a grant from BCEF, Brunswick Junior High teacher Conan McNamara was operating the school’s Robotics Club with 1 robotics kit of it’s own and 3 others borrowed from another department. As a result, the number of students interested in joining far exceeded the number he could accommodate. Now, after using the funds received from his grant to purchase 8 additional kits, all necessary software and additional parts, the club is thriving with 24 members who are currently gearing up for the state robotics competition this Spring. In addition, the robotics kits are being incorporated into the classroom where they have already been used to measure the effects of gravity, and to demonstrate the impact of different gear ratios on speed and power.
This grant paid for two Brunswick Junior High School teachers to attend aquaponics training at the Herring Gut Learning Center in Maine and all necessary equipment and materials to construct a variety of aquaponics kits in 6th grade science classes. Aquaponics is the cultivation of plants and aquatic species in a mutually beneficial re-circulating environment. The teacher’s goal with the grant was to turn one third of the 6th grade science curriculum into hands-on, project-based learning with the potential to spark creativity and connect learning to real world applications.
Wind Over Wings: an interactive, live animal program enriched the second grade curriculum with lessons on habitat and protecting our feathered friends. Our second grade students had great questions and were eager to share what they had learned!
Connecting with Casco Bay
This grant by the BCEF enabled the 7th grade students of Jewell Island to engage in expeditionary learning to study the fragility of Casco Bay and our role in caring for it.
Teacher quote- Carla Shaw 7th grade BJHS-“The BCEF made it possible for our students to do hands on research and experiments and become involved with and aware of the delicate balance of our relationship with Casco Bay.”
“The salt marsh of Thomas Bay is a beautiful place that needs to be preserved for the sake of the plants and animals who call it their home. ” ~ Grace C.
“Overall my favorite part of this field trip was getting to see in real life what an estuary looks like and how it functions. ” ~ Emily S.
“Peaks Island was beautiful and can inspire many people to do at least one little thing to save the bay. Also, there is tons of sea life around Peaks Island to protect.” ~ Isaac H..
BrainSTEM-High School Robotics Club
This grant by the BCEF funded the purchase of a variety of robotics equipment and start up costs for the Brunswick High School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Robotics Club.
“As a woman with a mathematics background, I have a personal interest in getting young women, and men, excited about STEM
related fields. There is no substitute for the hands on exploration of science and
technology that this grant will enable.” ~Sandy Dolan, BHS Math Department Head
“I’m a visual learner and robotics gives me a chance to make a plan and then use my hands and my mind to make it and see the final product.”~ Cameron N. -10th grade
“I want to be an engineer. I’ve learned about design and programming in classes, but the robotics club allows me to actually apply that knowledge. With the skills I’ve learned in the club like soldering, I’ve been able to design and build some things that I am excited about.” ~ Amelia H.-11th grade
Stability Balls in the Early Elementary Classroom
This grant funded the purchase of stability balls to replace chairs as classroom seats for students in a first grade and a multi-age classroom. Research shows this has the potential to increase focus and improve learning by allowing students to expend excess energy while seated.
“I truly notice a difference in the stamina of my learners. The children are able to sit for longer periods of time because they are able to channel their natural need for movement through the use of the stability ball.” ~Ashley Martin- 1st grade Coffin Elementary
“They are not bouncy balls…they are STABILITY balls!” (they say this to anyone who calls them “bouncy” balls because we talk about how we don’t BOUNCE on them unless we have special permission!) ~ 1st grade Coffin Elementary student
A 3-D printer was purchased for the High School for use by the Social Studies department to bring history to life and by the Technical Education Department for use by the CAD/Architecture & 3D Modeling students.
Non-Fiction Texts for First Grade & Multi-Age Classrooms
This grant provided students in every first grade and multi-age classroom at Coffin School access to appropriate leveled non-fiction texts that tie-in to the Science and Social Studies curriculum.
“I really appreciate the range of content in the Pioneer Valley Non-Fiction series. The ability for even emergent readers to explore content of interest is engaging and confidence building.”
A variety of Thinkfun! Games were purchased for Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary to promote the ‘Growth Mindset’. These games challenge students at all learning levels, improve reasoning ability, and reinforce the benefits of perseverance.
This percussion instrument consisting of small, tuned discs, which was purchased for the High School Music department, will broaden the variety and styles of music available to band and small ensemble members.
Other Grants (Stay tuned for photos!)
Project WX: to teach and practice weatherization techniques
Kits for hands on science opportunities
Books to support elementary and high school learning styles
Robotics kits for the Junior High