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Learning grants by SRP 2015-16 recipients

This year, SRP received 71 applications for learning grants. Twenty-eight were selected through evaluators and the committee. All areas of the Valley are represented plus two from the Casa Grande area, one each from St. John's, Vernon and Round Valley.

Of the accepted grants, nine requested science equipment, six were for robotics, six were for curriculum materials, four for garden and water-related science projects and three for technology.

SRP will fund the following projects for a total of $125,221.

Elementary schools (13)

  • ASU Preparatory Academy, Polytechnic Campus (Mesa) – $5,000. ASU Prep would like to increase science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) proficiency by expanding access to robotics for 450 students in grades 3–8. The grant will be used to purchase a class set of LEGO Mindstorm EV3 robotics kits for use in school during STEM classes and after school during robotics club. Through this project, SRP and ASU Prep will provide students with opportunities to deepen their mastery of STEM concepts, thus making persistence, curiosity and teamwork a way of life.
  • Augusta Ranch Elementary (Gilbert) – $421. This school would like to purchase a classroom set of Hands On Equations and related educator materials to teach the abstract theories of algebra through a visual, kinesthetic approach. This support will enable the gifted students to develop a concrete understanding of the meaning of equations, evaluating expressions and the ability to solve multi-step equations. The strong background in algebra provided by Hands On Equations will ensure the students' success in mathematics far into the future.
  • Auxier Elementary (Chandler) –$5,000. The Fab Lab at Chandler Unified School District's newest elementary school, Auxier Elementary, will provide students with opportunities to interact with STEM concepts in a fun, hands-on learning environment. The Fab Lab will be a place where students can learn to code, program robots and other electronics, create new things with recycled products and participate in STEM challenges. The Fab Lab will be used before, during and after school hours. There will even be opportunities for parents to create projects with their children before school. Equipment that is purchased for the Fab Lab will also be incorporated into hands-on experiences that match science curriculum across all of the grade levels. The school will also start two robotics clubs.
  • Bernard Black Elementary (South Phoenix) – $5,000. At the center of this school's STEM initiatives is its competitive Robotics Team, the Falcon Cyborgs. The team competed in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Regional tournament, earning 3rd place in the Robot Game and winning the Ben Miranda Community Spirit Award as a Rookie Team. This year, the school would like support to expand the club to 32 students and incorporate robotics into each classroom in grades 4–7.
  • Highland Park Elementary School (Gilbert) – $5,000. Highland Park would like to purchase a 3D printer, digitalizer and filament that will allow their students to test and improve advanced models in an efficient, cost-effective manner. They have several units of study planned in which they would use the 3D printer to allow students to further explore and learn aeronautical engineering, effects of climate on agriculture, compounds and mixtures and motion and design. The maker of the printer, MakerBot, will train third grade and fifth grade teachers at no charge. This project will impact more than 250 students.
  • Hopi Elementary (Scottsdale) – $5,000. Students at Hopi will practice gardening skills in a real garden setting. Curriculum is enriched via lessons in nutrition, biology, chemistry, environmental science, geography (desert climate), entomology, math, art and design. Hopi is asking for funding to purchase plants and irrigation equipment. Students use math skills to design gardens, calculate garden perimeter, area, and layout of garden plants and seeds and determine the distance of irrigation pipes and frequency of water flow to plants. They will also learn about pollinators, water tables and water usage of plants, regional plants, planting/harvest seasons, the environmental factors associated with pollinators for sustainable plant growth, chemicals in fertilizers and pesticides and more.
  • Ironwood Elementary (Casa Grande) – $5,000. Ironwood is asking for funding to expand projects that began with an SRP Learning Grant in 2014-15. Using the highly acclaimed Engineering is Elementary curriculum, this project teaches, equips and prepares fifth graders for lifelong learning with a STEM emphasis as well as an introduction to a technical career. The engineering kits, science books and science journals requested help fifth graders learn how to design, create and improve an engineering model based on fifth grade standards while enjoying the learning process. Students will learn about the engineering process, design and problem solving process and develop critical thinking skills.
  • Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Tempe) – $5,000. Mt. Carmel is seeking funds to establish an ongoing greenhouse that will be maintained by its fourth grade students. These students spend about half of the school year discussing the life of a plant as part of science and social studies. Lessons reviewed throughout the year cover topics such as what a plant cell looks like, the process of photosynthesis, the importance of the existence of plants in various ecosystems, nutrition and much more. Currently the school does not have any real life models or examples to aid the students in understanding the role of plants in people's daily lives. Funds will be used for the purchase of a greenhouse kit, gardening equipment and planting materials. All labor and upkeep will be provided by the teachers and students at the school.
  • Power Ranch Elementary (Gilbert) – $2,131. This school is implementing an after-school STEM investigation and exploratory unit in which 125 third grade students will participate in three culminating projects. The first project consists of a decomposition column that mimics a compost pile or landfill in a bottle. The second project will allow students to investigate the fermentation process in a bottle. Finally, the third project, the TerrAqua column, provides students with a model of water as it cycles between land. Students create a model in a bottle with soil, water and plants in order to explore the process. All three projects allow students to delve into the process of creating their own models, observe the changes forming in their bottles through the scientific method, investigate the outcomes and have meaningful discussions with their peers.
  • Sheely Farms Elementary (Tolleson) – $1,532. This school will use their funding to purchase Knex STEM kits to to incorporate into eighth grade curriculum. Students will use these materials to study forces and motion. More than 100 students will be impacted each year from this grant.
  • Stanfield Elementary (Stanfield) – $5,000. This school will purchase Pearson kits that help students learn life, Earth and physical sciences. These resources will immerse students in activities that spark their imaginations and create an environment of student engagement. The curriculum will allow students to reach mastery of key science strands as illustrated in the Arizona State Career and College Readiness curriculum.
  • Step Up Schools (Mesa) – $4,090. Step Up School would like to purchase science curriculum kits and hands-on materials for its students in grades K–8. The kits include over 200 science lessons for students to engage in. Included is an interactive program for K–5 students along with teacher materials for grades 6–8. This school will use its funding to build a science learning foundation that can be built upon in years to come.
  • Vernon Elementary (Vernon) – $5,000. In 2014-15, Vernon Elementary received an SRP Learning Grant to purchase science curriculum for its small rural school. Since then the school has seen interest and achievement rise and wants to expand on its success. The school was able to purchase four units of study its first year of support. This year’s grant will go to purchasing five more units:  Chemical Changes, Designing Mixtures, Light Energy, Soil Habitats, and Variation and Adaptation. This program will add to the school's science curriculum and allow students to expand their experiences in science.

Middle schools (9)

  • Arete Preparatory Academy (Mesa) – $5000. Arete Prep would like to purchase hands-on materials to create long-term labs focused on water conservation and water purification. Students will build a water filter to purify polluted drinking water, keeping in mind the efficiency, affordability and productivity of their filter. This lab stresses the importance of water conservation and cleanliness and encourages students to think about creative ways to purify drinking water. Following the lab portion, the students will research the methods of water purification within the Phoenix metropolitan area as well as city programs and efforts related to water conservation. They will present their findings in a presentation to the class. Arete previously received SRP Learning Grant funding for long-term labs, which are similar to investigations done in the real scientific community, such as groundwater contamination investigations and active geologic field work.
  • Explorer Middle School (Phoenix) – $3,999. Explorer Middle School would like to purchase materials to create a new science and math lab. Middle School RoboLab Learners is a project that will build upon the foundation of creating a learning environment that will encourage and promote hands-on learning in the pre-engineering STEM lab-classroom. With the integration of robots, a tablet and a quadcopter included as part of the RoboLab box, students will be able to learn math and science concepts in a visual and engaging way that will show them the importance and relevance of math in the world.
  • Great Hearts Trivium Academy (Goodyear) – $4,985. This school will use grant funding for sustainable scientific instruments and supplies that complement each unit within its Earth and Life Science curriculum. These materials will enrich lessons and give teachers the tools needed to conduct inquiry-based labs. The materials will be used to develop year-long science curriculum such as a minerals unit that focuses on the unique geology and rich history of mining in Arizona, and using rock hammers, safety helmets and tool belts during trips out into the field. The water quality unit helps build students’ understanding of freshwater filtration systems by testing existing water sources, and will be greatly enhanced by the models and probes provided through the grant. Ultimately, these tools will assist students in applying their knowledge and mastering various concepts as opposed to simply memorizing information.
  • Mohave Middle School (Scottsdale) – $4,800. Mohave Middle School has had an after-school robotics program for six years, expanding from a FLL team to nearly 50 students engaged in four programs today. With a solid infrastructure in place of teachers, adult mentors and students mentors as well as anticipated growth, the school needs to make investments in FLL EV3 robots, VEX IQ kits and VEX parts to ensure the continued success of its robotics programs.
  • Round Valley Middle School (Springerville) – $5,000. Funding from this grant will allow Round Valley to purchase science kits and lab equipment as well as new software and online access to the Jason Project. These purchases will help to build a STEM lab where teachers are able to reach students who otherwise do not seem to be interested in math or science. The interactive lab will bring hands-on activities and tools such as chemistry experiments, math manipulatives, graphing software, measuring devices, microscopes, safety goggles and more, helping to strengthen students' knowledge in a safe and appropriate manner. The proposed project will increase student learning and engagement through STEM principles; Students will use technology to learn about math and science, and enhance learning through cross-curricular planning and instruction using the new tools and supplies.
  • St. John’s Middle School (St. John's) – $5,000. St. John’s earned a B rating from the State last year, missing out on an A by only a few points. The school's students are motivated and accomplished learners, but lack technology in their school. They would like to purchase 21 Chromebooks to create a mobile computer lab that can be used by all classes at the school. The goal of the project is to integrate math and science with technology. The activities students will use the Chromebooks for are virtual math labs, virtual science labs, research and to work collaboratively with their peers using Google Classroom.
  • Santan Junior High (Chandler) – $5,000. This school will use its funding to add a 3D printer to their materials. Santan has worked for the past several years to improve the STEM opportunities for its students. With the help of SRP’s Learning Grant last year, the school was able to improve the robotics program tremendously by offering robotics equipment to students in clubs and in the science classroom for 150 students. Based off of that great success with improving the number of female students enrolling in robotics and engineering courses, Santan was approved by the district to add another engineering course next year called Design and Modeling.  Building on the success already achieved, the Design and Modeling curriculum will include students using 3D modeling software to create a virtual image of their designs and producing a portfolio to showcase their creative solutions.
  • Sonoran Sky Middle School (Glendale) – $4,014. Sonoran Sky’s seventh and eighth grade science classes have 30–35 students per class, but only have enough science materials for half of them. The school will use its grant to purchase science materials that provide hands-on learning opportunities for students. The equipment will benefit curriculum areas in geology, hydrology, astronomy, electricity and magnetism, biology and physics. Approximately 350 seventh and eighth grade students will benefit from this equipment. Additionally, the materials will also be available for students in grades 4–6 to use in their classrooms.
  • Western Valley Middle School (Phoenix) – $5,000. This school would like to purchase additional robotics kits to continue to grow its Lego Robotics club, which has seen its membership grow from eight students up to 96 students in only three years. The school had a waiting list of students this year that did not have the opportunity to participate in the program. The eventual goal is for all students to have the opportunity to experience this hands-on learning. Teachers at the school are reporting gains in their students' math and science understanding and attribute some of this success to the students' excitement and experience with the robotics program.

High schools (6)

  • Centennial High School (Peoria) – $4,500. The goal of this project is to connect students' conceptual knowledge of physics with the physical world outside the classroom. With this grant, Centennial will be purchasing technology that will extend learning beyond the school building itself; students will collect and analyze data in real time using sports, nature and campus life as the laboratory. The goal is that this bridge built between textbook and the outside world will encourage students to employ scientific principles on a daily basis, even long after they leave school. The school will purchase lab equipment to replace outdated and worn out equipment. The main component of the mobile science laboratory will be student-use Microsoft Surface tablets equipped with LoggerPro data analysis software and Microsoft Office. The secondary component will be Vernier LabQuest Minis to act as interface between the tablets and existing data collection probes.
  • EDUPRIZE Gilbert (Gilbert) – $5,000. With the growth of EDUPRIZE High School to include eleventh graders next year, and the anticipated implementation of an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, the school aims to build a quality science experience for students. Next year's juniors will take a rigorous biology course and technology equipment will be needed for units on genetics, development, biochemistry, physiology, evolution, classification and ecology. One feature of the program is a field research experience on the lower Salt River, which gives students the opportunity to collect water chemistry data in the sophomore year, and merge that with an exploration of the biotic community of the ecosystem to build a better picture of the essential nature of riparian zones in the desert southwest. This grant will fund the purchase of equipment needed including electrophoresis beds and power supply, stream flow sensors, probes and a microcentrifuge for the study of genetics, engineering and ecology.
  • Liberty High School (Peoria) – $5,000. The school will use its grant funding to purchase a Vernier LabQuest 2 standalone hand-held interface that can be used to collect, analyze, and share sensor data from experiments. With the current push to increase STEM education, these interfaces will allow students to engage in student-centered, inquiry-based learning, and use professional scientific instruments to conduct real-time investigations. Since the devices operate on rechargeable batteries, students can use the interfaces to conduct scientific investigations outside of the classroom helping students to investigate the world around them. The equipment will be used across science and math curriculum affecting most of the students in grade 9–12.
  • Mesa High School (Mesa) – $4,999. Mesa High School will use funds to create a Sonoran desert pollinator garden on 0.9 acres of its campus, where students can study the ecology of natural regional flora and fauna. The fenced-in field will be transformed from a vacant weeded area into a garden that attracts bees, birds and butterflies. The design includes an outdoor classroom that can be used by teachers and students from any subject area and any grade level. Environmental Science students will engage in "citizen science" through several different national programs like Budburst, the Great Backyard Bird Count and Bird Sleuth. The students will make and record observations of the garden's flora and fauna, and transfer the data to specific websites where they and other students from around the country can analyze the data sets.
  • Millennium High School (Goodyear) – $4,750. Millennium High School would like to promote hands-on type STEM activities. This initiative will encourage under-represented students to work with STEM activities in order to motivate and encourage them to take higher level math and science classes, including Advanced Placement classes. The current State Science Olympiad project curriculum will be used as a model. The grant funds will be used to purchase supplies for the activities to be completed in the freshman integrated science classes, which cover topics like air trajectory, electric vehicles, robotics, elevated bridges, wind power and more.
  • Pinnacle High School (Phoenix) – $5,000. The school's goal is to give students real world applications of basic physics principles and to highlight the growing industry of aviation and near space sciences. The students who participate in this team build a payload that is attached to a weather balloon and fly that balloon to an altitude of one hundred thousand feet or more. At this altitude, the students' payloads enter the stratosphere and achieve what is called near space altitudes. Pinnacle received funding from SRP Learning Grants last year and had great success. Its launch was featured on the local news. This program is exciting to the students involved and increases interest in science for many more students at the school.

Find out more

For information about how to apply for a Learning Grant by SRP, please visit our Learning Grant page, or call (602) 236-2484.

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