University of Vermont

Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering
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Equipment Grants

The Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering (VASE) is pleased to announce a program for small equipment grants to K-12 teachers. This program is part of the VASE STEM outreach activity. Additional information about VASE can be found at http://www.uvm.edu/~vase/. Specific details about the program are given below.

Background

It is of increasing concern in Vermont that there are an insufficient number of students who are interested in careers in Science and Engineering. As part of the VASE school outreach effort, we are proposing to increase student interest by providing the opportunities for direct hands on experience so students have a chance to experience the excitement of science and engineering in a direct experiential manner. These types of activities inevitably require some associated hardware which is outside the normal budgets available for classroom instruction so we are providing a pathway for teachers and student teams to design projects which go beyond the standard laboratory experience. Consequently, a premium will be placed on innovative, exciting projects which are outside of the established curriculum.

We plan to make four to six awards in the $ 500-1000 range each.

Proposal

The proposal should cover the following points.

  • The specific item(s) in question.
  • The outline of an independent, student centered project which will be enabled by the equipment in question. We are particularly interested in projects which have student input in the design
  • Firms quote for price (or catalog price).
  • Rational for the choice of items in point 1.
  • Specific activities utilizing the item in question. Also, include plan for continued use of the equipment in subsequent years
  • Evaluation plan for the activity.

Time frame. Proposals are to be submitted electronically or in hard copy to the address given below by October 20th, 2014. Awards will be announced by November 21st with the expectation that the projects will be initiated in the spring term of 2015. Teacher and student teams will give a presentation on the project at the spring 2015 VASE meeting (usually April or May).

P. Frank Winkler
Gamaliel Painter Bicentennial Professor of Physics, Emeritus
McCardell Bicentennial Hall
Bicentennial Way Middlebury
College Middlebury, VT 05753
Email: winkler@middlebury.edu

Awards for 2012-2013

The Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering (VASE) is pleased to announce the awarding of six competitive equipment grants to K-12 educators in Vermont. VASE recognizes the need to interest more students in Science and Engineering careers in order to support the State's ambitious economic and quality of life goals. This program, part of the VASE school outreach effort, was designed to increase student interest by providing the opportunities for them to experience the excitement of science and engineering through direct, hands-on activities. Emphasis was placed on innovative, exciting projects which were designed to go beyond the standard laboratory experience and which incorporated devices that would fall outside of the budgets for traditional classrooms. In the first year of the program, a statewide solicitation generated twelve exciting projects. Based on the funds available, six of the projects were funded and are being currently implemented in the 2012-2013 school year. There is a range of projects including:

  • Amy Clapp of Addison Central School developed a project entitled "Engineering Design Challenge", which draws on the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) curriculum from the Museum of Boston. She teach grades K-6, so this allows each and every student at the school with the opportunity to experience the engineering design process while they are still learning content from the core science content. A typical project would be to examine properties of different materials and after testing build an object which incorporates the most optimal properties.
  • Cindy Moesdale of the Barnet School developed a project involving broad-based micro-meteorology by student leaders (TEAM- Tandem Environmental Assessment and Measurement) in which local weather monitoring stations are set up so that individual learners in local schools and the community regionally collaborate and share data to explain how weather measurements compare and contrast at a locality.
  • Bob Glennon of the Dummerston School has his students learn to build and program a Lego vehicle to follow a course and perform tasks such as following a marked trail and avoid obstacles.
  • Phoebe Guevin of Northwest Primary School in Rutland developed a project "Engineering a Pollinator", in which students set out to solve an agricultural conundrum using the engineering design process (ask a question, design, create, test, improve). Students use a hydroponics growth table to watch their specimens (tulips) grow and then design, build, test, and improve a pollinating device to get their tulips to produce seeds.
  • Erica Wallstrom and her colleagues at Rutland High School have developed a multidisciplinary Freshman Academy Maple Sugaring Unit in which the science classes collected the sap each day, recorded levels of flow, and analyzed soil samples next to each tapped tree. This data is then entered into a shared Google Doc provide access to all students. Meanwhile, while in math class, students used this data entered to create graphs and determine the lines algebraic formula. Students then use the results to answer questions such as how does soil salinity affect sap flow? How does soil pH affect sap flow? How does the tree type affect sap flow?
  • George Raynak, Kirsten Belrose and colleagues at Swanton Elementary have incorporated a 3-D printer into the "Passion Project" classroom activity in which students will use their imaginations, creativity and design skills to create physical models by the 3-D printing process for their science and math classes like simple machines ramps and pulleys, and structures like bridges. They will also be able to produce chemical molecules, biological models of organs and cells.

Given the success and impact of this program, VASE is pleased to announce a second year of competition for small equipment grants in the range of $500 to $1,000 each. Proposals should present the outline of an independent, student centered project that will be enabled by the equipment in question. Student input in the design is encouraged. Proposals should be submitted by July 1 and awards will be made by August 1. Interested persons are encouraged to contact VASE president Chris Allen (christopher.allen@uvm.edu) for more information.

The Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering (VASE) was founded in 1995 by and is funded by the Vermont Technology Council, following a recommendation of the Vermont Science and Technology Plan of December, 1994. It was established with three purposes:

  • To recognize outstanding achievement and contributions in the broadly defined areas of science and/or engineering
  • To foster a deeper understanding and promote discourse on scientific and technical matters among the citizens of the State of Vermont
  • To provide expert and impartial technical advice to the people and the government of the State of Vermont
Additional information about VASE and its outreach programs may be found at http://www.uvm.edu/~vase/

Other Partnership Opportunities

Do you need more than a small equipment grant? The VASE membership extends to a variety of Vermont private and academic sectors and thus we may be able to broker connections to serve your needs. If this is the case, please contact us to start a discussion of the program you envision.

Last modified August 03 2014 02:25 PM

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