Salt River Project's (SRP) Learning Grants program recently awarded US$125,794 to 27 schools in SRP service and impact territories. At a time when COVID-19 has disrupted education, the grants provide a unique opportunity for teachers to develop programs that give students cutting-edge, hands-on learning tools and experiences in math, science, and engineering.
"The last nine weeks have been a very hard road and I was surprised and grateful to learn I won [an SRP Learning Grant],” said Scott Hogan, physics teacher at Goodyear's Desert Edge High School. "I couldn't believe it. I wish all the projects could have been funded, but my grant supports physics and with budget limitations, it is always an uphill battle for funding and resources. This is special, helpful, and deeply appreciated."
SRP annually contributes more than US$1.3 million to education initiatives, grants, and partnerships. It also provides free training and resources to educators throughout Arizona.
Below are this year's SRP Learning Grants awarded for the 2020 to 2021 school year, listed alphabetically by city:
Casa GrandeCottonwood Elementary (US$3600):
The school's Racing into Learning project is aimed at maximizing student engagement while strengthening engineering, science, and math skills. Students will choose between various power sources such as wind, battery, solar, or a combination to power their vehicles and deepen their understanding of electricity, circuits, motion, measurement, and renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.
Auxier Elementary (US$5000):
SRP Learning Grants will be used to purchase 10 LEGO Mindstorms Education EV3 Core Sets and five LEGO Mindstorms Expansion Sets, which will help students explore new ways to solve problems through hands-on creativity, design, and programming skills. LEGO projects at Auxier Elementary support all aspects of science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM) as students use interactive, model-based engineering design methods to build.
Tarwater Elementary (US$5000):
The school has a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) program where students learn science and math in Mandarin. It is extremely difficult to find hands-on science materials in Mandarin. Funds will be used to purchase resources from the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) and the Museum of Science's suite of engineering curricula to support their dual-language learning.
Valley Christian High School (US$5000):
Valley Christian High School will replace outdated science technology with modern tools for both its science and math departments. The new equipment will improve laboratory and project experiences for students in ninth through twelfth grades by enhancing data-collection capabilities. It will also enable teachers to cover topics in a more detailed manner. The new technologies will increase student engagement and learning, and better prepare them for academic and professional careers in STEAM fields.
Coolidge High School (US$5000):
Coolidge High School will use the funds to bring new STEAM tools to its physics program. They intend to purchase a bundle of Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapters, 40 DFRobot Boson Starter Kits for micro:bit, a micro:bit inventor's kit and more. The materials will help further develop critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills while engaging students in STEAM knowledge application.
Riverview Elementary (US$4977):
SRP funds will be used to purchase materials, equipment, and kits to bring cross-curricular, grade-level science activities into every classroom from kindergarten to eighth grade. Students will learn about genetics, DNA, and hereditary traits with interactive fingerprinting and blood-typing kits. They will also learn more about the solar system and space exploration with new materials.
Fountain Hills Middle School (US$5000):
Green screen video production and a microscope cart will soon be a new feature for STEAM students at Fountain Hills Middle School for a more hands-on, active learning experience. A set of Raspberry Pi kits will teach students computer assembly and coding.
Campo Verde High School (US$4952):
At Campo Verde High School, obsolete Vernier science equipment will be replaced with new and improved technology to enable students to perform meaningful, college-ready labs.
Gilbert Classical Academy (US$3385):
New molecular modeling sets will help students understand how molecules combine, the types of intermolecular attractions that form between them and predict chemical and physical properties of compounds. Students will also have a class set of Vernier pressure sensors to conduct gas law experiments and collect, graph, and analyze reliable data.
Cactus High School (US$5000):
To help boost the number of students entering STEAM-related fields, a new extracurricular club will be created focusing on the protection and conservation of wildlife with an emphasis on sustainability. Club members will set up field cameras in the White Tank Mountains to collect data on a variety of species through movement and population migration. A solar energy component will also be incorporated so students can see how solar power works in a practical application.
Las Brisas Elementary (US$5000):
iPads and Osmo's STEAM education technology will soon be deployed in classrooms for first grade students. Osmo is an interactive device that enhances student creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication skills on a variety of subjects such as coding, math, drawing, spelling fundamentals of physics, and world geography.
Desert Edge High School (US$4707):
Air- and water-powered rockets, solar cars, solar ovens, eco-wind generators, magnetic-levitation vehicles, and mousetrap vehicles will be part of physics classes. New funding will allow for hands-on, real-world learning as students engage in three-dimensional science learning outlined in the new Arizona Science Standards.
Westar Elementary (US$3579):
SRP Learning Grants will pay for new Project-Based Learning Coding Clubs that focus on designing, engineering, and problem solving when coding an Ozobot. Westar Elementary's grant will pay for three Ozobot Evo kits that introduce coding at a basic level and progressively become more challenging through a coding app.
Longfellow Elementary (US$2800):
Several LEGO Education SPIKE kits will be added to classrooms, so students can learn to solve problems, work together, and innovate.
Rhodes Junior High (US$5000):
SRP Learning Grants will fund an Electricity and Magnetism Exploration Center inside the school's MakerSpace, a space that allows students to learn, design, and create. The area also will support the seventh- and eighth-grade science classrooms where the new resources can be used for new energy, electricity, and magnetism units to meet science standards.
Academy of Math and Science, Desert Sky (US$5000):
Middle school students will be getting a small virtual reality development lab where they can gain valuable technical experience in developing virtual reality applications. With virtual reality and hardware such as a 360° camera, students can create applications to explore and experience Arizona and other parts of the world.
Bernard Black Elementary (US$5000):
Students will soon have a new MakerSpace. They will also have a new three-dimensional printer with corresponding accessories as well as STEAM robotic kits.
Madison Camelview Elementary (US$5000):
A new MakerSpace will be created in the school’s STEAM room so students can experience scientific phenomena, complete engineering challenges, explore creative outlets, and develop mathematical skills. SRP funds will be used to purchase a 3D printer, 3D pens, cardboard construction kits and tools, electronic-circuitry exploration and robotics kits, and a set of basic hand tools that teachers and students can use.
Madison Highland Prep (US$5000):
In partnership with Arizona State University’s chemical engineering and its engineering professionals in the community service program, students in the Madison Highland Prep Engineering Club will bring low-energy water purity to community gardens. They will learn to drive down the total dissolved solids that can make flood-irrigation gardening challenging in Arizona. By phase two of the project, students will deploy a working filter in an existing school garden. During phase three, club members will identify iterative improvements based on data, build the second-generation model, and begin testing. SRP funding will provide the tools necessary to collect data and documentation and allow the project to keep going.
Maryvale High School (US$4415):
New science tools will allow students to examine Galileo's discovery and research the acceleration of gravity. Students will establish a deep knowledge and mathematical understanding of physics by using the latest in Vernier science software and technology.
Northwest Christian School (US$4845):
With its new Discovering Drones project, Northwest Christian School students will build unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to practice engineering, programming, robotics, and configuration. Students will assemble drones using frames printed with a new 3D printer and attach components such as motors, receivers, transmitters, batteries, propellers, and mini-remote cameras.
Pendergast Desert Horizon Middle School (US$5000):
Seventh- and eighth-grade students will study principles of agricultural sustainability by exploring food production in the United States, which traces food from the seed to table. Two hands-on projects will allow students to design an aquaponic farming system and begin producing vegetables and fish. At the end of the year, students will engage in a capstone project and travel to study natural habitats and wild ecosystems.
Simpson School (US$4855):
Students will learn all about drones with new drone kits that help improve student engagement beyond traditional teaching methods. Drones support student understanding of the laws of physics such as calculating how long it will take a drone to travel a certain distance or how the wind influences its path.
Trevor Browne High School (US$4842):
New teaching tools will help students investigate electrophysiology and aid them in making connections among neurology, physics, engineering, computer programming, and mathematics. In anatomy, physiology, physics, and robotics courses, students will learn how a single sensory neuron can adapt to stimuli.
Acorn Montessori (US$4853):
Acorn Montessori will use the funds to create two course units that use 3D printers. In the first unit, students will work together to design, create, and print a device that would be helpful in a survival scenario. For the second unit, they will research a famous inventor and recreate the his invention with the school's new 3D printer.
AZ Aspire Academy (US$4451):
SRP Learning Grants will be used to incorporate engineering, conservation, and design elements into the STEAM curriculum using project-based learning. Students will have up to four hands-on projects each quarter with sustainability themes.
Queen Creek Unified School District (US$3989):
The district will purchase EiE curriculum units. Students at all levels and multiple schools throughout the district will have opportunities to become problem solvers using STEAM skills.