Burroughs Wellcome Fund grants will buy supplies, training for inquiry-based learning
"Three GCS teachers have received grants totaling nearly $11,000 to strengthen the science opportunities available in their classrooms. Teachers at Smith High, The Early College at Guilford and Murphey Traditional Academy each received Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics (PRISM) grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a North Carolina-based private organization that funds scientific research and supports science education throughout the state.
Smith High students and staff will receive $4,492 in new lab equipment and training, thanks to Aebeyo Abraha, a chemistry teacher and science department chair at the school. Abraha’s project, “From Hands-On to Minds-On,” will help develop interactive lessons allowing students to collect real-time data and draw accurate scientific conclusions based on their experiments. The funds will be used to purchase electronic lab equipment and sensors and provide training to teachers on how to use the new materials successfully.
“I believe it will enhance our students’ knowledge, aptitude and skills in science” to have this opportunity, Abraha says. “This increased exposure will ultimately lead and prepare them for success in college-level science courses.”
At The Early College at Guilford, Katheryn Cooper will also use the $2,981 to purchase electronic lab equipment and sensors to examine soil, water and air quality. Her AP Environmental Science students will conduct an experiment to see the impact of human activities on an enclosed ecosystem.
Students will be able to apply their classroom learning to real-life situations and increase their problem-solving capabilities, Cooper says. “Our students are more and more focused on their electronic lifestyle. Using that focus to help them understand their world and their ability to impact that world is a major impetus in asking for this equipment,” she says.
Murphey Traditional Academy fifth-grade teacher Claudia Walker will use the $3,400 in funding to support healthy living through a program called Fitness Counts at Murphey! Students in fourth and fifth grade will research the functions of the human body and how to keep it healthy and safe. They will create take-home kits to share with each Murphey family through a community outreach event, allowing parents to provide feedback on the kits.
In addition, fourth- and fifth-graders will teach their younger classmates how to use existing fitness equipment at the school and conduct a survey to measure the consumption of foods available through a USDA fresh fruits and vegetables grant. The funds will be used for classroom equipment, materials and professional development."
Submitted by Nora Shoptaw, For GC Schools