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RISE (research in STEM education) Grant Study

posted 1 Feb 2016, 13:20 by Webmaster Foundation51   [ updated 1 Feb 2016, 13:26 ]
In the summer of 2015, Foundation 51 awarded MSAD #51 an $11,500 grant to support the continuation of the RISE (research in STEM education) Grant Study
and fund the instructional resource kits used by students in Kindergarten through 5th grade, currently 558 students. The first year of the RISE grant study was a free program for the school district where the State funded grant covered both the digital curriculum as well as the instructional resource kits. In the second year (2015 - 16 school year), the program was expected to be funded entirely by the school district. The school administration and staff wanted to continue this program, funding for the resource kits portion was not accounted for in the budget. This is where Foundation 51 became involved and awarded the grant to the school district. 

Last year, most of the K-5 teachers voluntarily elected to participate in the RISE grant study that focuses on a new way of learning science; student learning through making connections that involve science and math together.

New science standards, NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), indicate that an integrated approach to instruction is the most effective way for students to learn science. The school administration agreed that the best approach for students in relation to helping them build a solid foundation in science and meet new standards was to use the STEMscopes curriculum for science. The instructional resource kits allow the students and teachers in MIW and the Middle School to do this. 

Mary Train, a Kindergarten teacher at MIW started using the STEM instructional kits this fall with her classroom. She says her students are highly engaged in science now that they are working with the STEMscopes and using the STEM resource kits. “They love seeing that science is on our schedule during the day. When the materials come out, they know they are going to be having fun learning with hands-on investigations and great discussions!” Mary said.

To date, most of the classrooms at MIW have been using the resource kits, and at the Middle School a few classrooms in 4th and 5th grades have begun using them.

The program thus far has been successful from a teaching perspective, reflects Mary. Although it is not without challenges as this program is new to not only
the students, but the staff as well. Teachers will be learning how to best organize and keep accurate inventory on supplies in the building.
Reception of this program has been positive across the board, from staff to students to parents. Mary said parents have commented on how impressed they are with their children’s learning and thinking in science and their excitement for STEM. Teachers and administrators are excited as well to see the engagement and learning in their students using the new curriculum and kits.

See the Fall Newsletter for more information on what is going on with Foundation 51!