Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) has awarded teachers throughout the state of Maryland with grants to help promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based learning activities.
BGE officials noted that they wanted to reach out to schools directly but were having a difficult time doing presentations because their work doesn’t lend itself to the students curriculum.
That’s when the company initiated the Bright Ideas Grant, which provides educators with funds to institute problem-solving and STEM in their curriculum.
Kristen Garlock, first grade teacher at Berkshire Elementary, took advantage of BGE’s grant program they started this year.
“I think this an amazing thing BGE is doing for education,” Garlock said. “The grant money we’ve received is very gracious.”
In order for teachers to obtain the grant money they have to apply.
Teachers have to submit an explanation of their proposed STEM project and supplies they will need to conduct the project.
Teachers came up with activities that involved year-long projects, day-long projects, projects that included the entire school and some for individual classes.
“I came up with a hands-on activity for problem-solving and math,” Garlock explained, noting, “I find that the students learn best with hands-on materials”.
Garlock will use funds to purchase hands-on manipulatives that she can continue to use year after year.
Nina Arlotta, visual arts teacher at Norwood Elementary School, says she plans on using her grant money on a pendulum project.
Her students will build their own structure technology to hang a pendulum on and they will also learn about gravity. The materials will be re-usable.
“I want my students to come up with their own technology.” Arlotta said.
Arlotta, who is obtaining her master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education, says it’s important to incorporate art while learning math.
“STEM is hard for students to pay attention to,” Arlotta said, “It’s especially difficult for girls to stay interested in.”
Kids learn best with visual art, according to Arlotta, so she wants to promote math and engineering through art.
Arlotta says that educators are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet, so the BGE grants are crucial for STEM education.
Garlock stated that BGE is hoping for more teachers to apply next year.
Both, Arlotta and Garlock heard about the grants through word of mouth, however to obtain updates about the BGE grants you can check their Facebook page.
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