Tag: classroom donations

8 Top Grants for STEM Teachers

8 Top Grants for STEM Teachers

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.

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Classroom expenses got you down?

Are Out-of-Pocket Classroom Expenses Dragging You Down? A Helping Hand May Be Just a Click Away

You Get Out of It What You Put Into It

Keeping your body in shape and keeping your personal budget in shape have a couple of things in common. Both are a struggle to stay on top of, and both are a matter of input and output. If you want a lean body, cut back on the food and crank up the exercise. If you want a fat wallet, increase the revenue and decrease the expenses. It’s pretty simple math.

While physical fitness is more a matter of willpower, fiscal fitness is another issue. It’s one thing to say no to the Krispy Kremes in the lounge and say yes to a stop at the gym (in spite of the stack of ungraded papers on the passenger seat), but when times are tight, you can’t just say no to your bills, and simply saying “Yes, please!” to more money doesn’t mean it’s going to show up in your account.

It helps when you don’t have to go it alone. A workout partner in the gym or a friend to question whether you really need a second helping of mashed potatoes can be just what you need to get through a moment of indecision. But when times get tough with your budget, the friend that might be happy to go for a run with you has a habit of running away when you start talking about needing help with your cash flow.

So, if you’re feeling alone in the battle of the bulge in your wallet, maybe the solution lies in finding some new friends. Where am I going to find friends who are going to want to help me with my budget woes, you ask? Trust me, they’re out there; you just haven’t met them yet.

Eager Donor, Meet Worthwhile Cause

Increasing revenue is a tough task for a teacher during the school year. You work long hours outside of the school day – don’t forget the stack of papers you carpool with – and finding outside work that fits your school schedule can be next to impossible. Well, if you can’t increase your revenue, your only other option is to cut your expenses, and getting a little help from “friends” through a crowdfunding source like Donors Choose can be just the boost that you need.

There are many crowdfunding sources available, but Donors Choose is one that is specifically for teachers and one that teachers and students at our school have benefited from numerous times. At Donors Choose, teachers can ask for help to cover the out-of-pocket costs for classroom items that are not covered in the school’s budget – the essential non-essentials, so to speak – that make a significant dent in a teacher’s wallet but are critical to creating a classroom atmosphere that is warm, comfortable, and conducive to learning. In the past few years, funded projects at our school have ranged from classroom sets of books for young adult readers, to comfy furniture for a cozy learning center, to a classroom pet.

Ask and There Is a Good Chance You Will Receive

Donors Choose was created in 2000, and it is a free service for full-time teachers at U.S. public or public charter schools. As of this writing, 276,186 teachers have received funding for 687,627 projects. These projects have benefited 17,579,385 students thanks to the generosity of more than two million donors. The Donors Choose website says that 75% of the proposed projects reach their funding goals.

Once you open an account with Donors Choose, you are able to post a project. To post a project, you will have to answer a few short essay questions and provide details about your project. Once it is funded, the materials are sent to you and all you have to do is provide the thank you cards and the photos of the happy students (and teacher).

A Friend in Need …

In South Carolina, the State Department of Education gives each of our teachers a $250 stipend to cover classroom purchases which is usually gone before the first child steps in the door in August. After that, if it is not included in a line item in the school’s budget, it is coming out of the teacher’s pocket. Fortunately, sites like Donors Choose provide an opportunity for teachers to tap into a network of donors who value public education and are looking for ways to help financially. Who knows, you might catch a break like we South Carolinians did when native son, Stephen Colbert, picked up the tab for over 1000 projects worth more than $800,000 in May of 2015.

Those are the kinds of friends that teachers need.

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