The state of Idaho will award some 23 teachers STEM grants to bring projects from robotics to 3D design into the classroom. Through the project summer STEM camp for the blind and visually impaired will also be funded.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM education is a new and critical focus area for school systems across the US. STEM education provides K-12 students with the building blocks for more technical study in college, which can help students train for jobs in the new economy.
Idaho maintains a “STEM Action Center” which provides funding and guidance for statewide STEM education projects. For this initial round of funding, the STEM Action Center received 104 applications requesting over $250,000. Funding allowed only 23 projects to be awarded this year. Like many states, Idaho lacks a comprehensive STEM curriculum. As such, the vast majority of STEM programs are funded through one-time grants.
Grants were ranked based on the STEM learning needs of the students, support of Idaho standards in math, science and/or English language arts, fiscal sustainability, measuring outcomes and impacts and using a creative and original approach to teaching STEM.
Angela Hemingway, executive director of the STEM Action Center, said, “The number of applications illustrates the need Idaho educators face in implementing innovative STEM projects. We were impressed by the quality of the applications and recognize that Idaho educators are capable of tremendous innovation when given the resources.”