Although everyone understands the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in the classroom, the cost involved with being a STEM teacher makes many question its benefits.
There’s expensive lab equipment. There are chemicals, tools, and supplies. Then there’s the cost of continuing education and professional development, important in all educational disciplines, but especially so in STEM fields due to their ever changing growth and development.
Due to the promotion of STEM education in school, the need for innovative and dedicated STEM teachers is at an all time high. To encourage teachers who can develop students’ interest to pursue these fields, there’s a growing list of grants and awards available.
Here’s a list of the top grants for STEM teachers and what each entails.
1) ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Grants
Each year, the American Chemical Society offers $1,500 ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Grants to high school chemistry teachers who encourage enthusiasm in their students by enhancing classroom learning, promoting scientific exploration, and raising an interest in chemistry. Funds can be used for classroom supplies such as lab equipment or teaching manuals, or for professional development, outreach, or field studies.
2) AIAA Foundation Classroom Grant Program
The AIAA Foundation Classroom Grant Program is put forth by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts and offered annually. These $250 grants are awarded to K-12 teachers who engage and inspire students by incorporating STEM concepts in the classroom in innovative and fun ways. The money can be used on a variety of things to enhance the learning experience, including software, equipment, and science learning kits.
3) Classroom-Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Challenge
Through Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lemelson-MIT Program, the Classroom-Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Challenge grant program gives up to 15 groups of students and teachers funding to come up with an innovative, technological solution for a real problem the world faces today. The teams that receive the $10,000 grants are to use the money to fund the development of their idea, giving the teams hands-on experience with STEM concepts in real world situations.
4) Emerging Teacher-Leaders in Elementary School Mathematics Grants
One of the many grants offered by the National Council of Teacher of Mathematics (NCTM), the Emerging Teacher-Leaders in Elementary School Mathematics Grant is for Pre-K-5th grade math teachers who are utilizing their own teaching methods in the classroom and demonstrating innovation and drive for math education. To be eligible for this grant, which can be up to $6,000, you must be a member of the NCTM.
5) NSTA Awards & Recognition Program
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) gives a range of awards and recognitions to those inspiring students to explore and become interested in the science fields. For over 40 years, the NSTA Awards and Recognition Program has been raising awareness of the outstanding work individuals are doing in science education and awards are given in a variety of specialties, including agricultural science, biotechnology, and engineering. There are also awards given to new teachers, those who build public interest, and those promoting science education in informal or non-traditional settings.
6) NWA Sol Hirsch Education Fund Grants
Given by the National Weather Association, NWA Sol Hirsch Educational Fund Grants are designed for elementary, middle, and high school teachers who are exposing students to the study of meteorology, which is often under represented in science classrooms. The $750 grants can be used to purchase classroom materials, develop community outreach programs, or for professional development.
7) Toshiba American Foundation
The Toshiba America Foundation gives grants to grade 6-12 teachers to fund projects that allow students to “do science.” Awarded to teachers who demonstrate passion for engaging students in STEM classes, these grants have funded a wide range of projects including robotics, greenhouses, genetics and DNA, and 3D animation.
8) Toyota Tapestry Grants for Science Teachers
Together with the National Science Teachers Association, Toyota offers the Toyota Tapestry Grants for Science Teachers. Up to fifty $10,000 grants are issued to K-12 teachers who are demonstrating passion for increasing the quality of science education and getting students interested in the science fields. The grant money is designed to fund student-organized, community-based projects in the physical sciences, environmental sciences, or those that promote literacy and science.
Think Beyond STEM
When it comes to grant money, think beyond STEM specific grants. The US Department of Education has a multitude of initiative and grants available for teachers in all disciplines. Some focus on minority and low-income educational settings and others on those individuals and programs that demonstrate growth and initiative. Many local and national teaching organizations and non-profits also offer grants for educators, so be sure to check with any organizations to which you belong.