IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is awarding several grants to schools in Idaho, and two of the biggest awards will be going to schools in the area.
On Monday morning representatives from INL presented a large check in the amount of $9,987.07. The elementary school plans to use it to create a "maker space" where students will get the chance to take on projects related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). "The sooner you expose kids to STEM they develop a great self efficacy for stem challenges and then this leads into STEM careers they feel like this is something not only can I do but I really like to do," said Janice Ferguson, a 1st grade teacher at Longfellow and co-writer of the grant.
Longfellow principal Kristoffer Smith is looking forward to the possibilities in fostering a love for the STEM subjects at a young age "this will make it so we can take a big step forward a lot quicker than we would otherwise," said Smith "to generate that much money with a PTO or with teachers it takes a lot longer".
Smith also noted the maker space will give students a chance to learn about skills relevant to the work force including coding "kids just naturally love science and this will continue to inspire them and hopefully make it so that they take those courses in middle school, high school, college, and become scientists."
The excitement for STEM education goes beyond the faculty at the school. Representatives from the INL are looking forward to the possibilities these grants will provide to students across the state "especially starting younger, it will be natural to them starting in jr.high and high school," said Anne Seifert, INL's manager of K-12 STEM outreach.
"We don't know what the careers will look like tomorrow," said Seifert "but let me tell you the careers are greatly different from the time you and I went to school so you can only imagine how this changes."
Here's the full list of grant award winners from INL with assistance of the Batelle Energy Alliance.
Ultimate STEM Grant recipients are:
1. Chase Crook from Rigby Middle school, $10,000, will use the money to purchase life science materials for the classroom.
2. Kristoffer Smith from Longfellow Elementary School, $9,987.07, will use the money to create a Makers Space for STEM at the school.
Classroom Makeover Grant recipients are:
1. Jared Gee from Sugar-Salem High School, $4,949.57, will use the money to reimage the Sugar-Salem High School science lab for chemistry and biology.
2. Troy Easterday from Castleford School District 417, $5,000, will use the money to purchase materials to teach energy efficiency in rural towns.
3. Heidi McJunkin from Snake River Montessori School, $1,046, will use the money to purchase a classroom set of computer coding curriculum.
4. Leslie Woodford from Pocatello Valley Montessori School, $1,000, will use the money to purchase a classroom set of complex math manipulatives to teach STEM.
This year's STEM Mini Grant recipients are:
Idaho Falls/eastern Idaho
Nathasia Christensen of Temple View Elementary in Idaho Falls received $274.50 to fund a classroom STEM garden.
Donna McCurdy of Arco Elementary received $444.91 for a classroom set of RAFT kits to teach physics and engineering.
Chris Brown of Parker-Egin Elementary in Parker received $500 to fund a family STEM night.
Sheila Jardine of Howe Elementary received $499.93 for coding materials for engineering and design.
Cathy LeDosquet of Teton Elementary received $500 for a classroom set of bins with math and engineering materials.
Cinnimon Schwartz of Malad Elementary received $450 for a classroom set of STEM engineering design kits.
Twin Falls/Magic Valley
Katherine Christensen of Sawtooth Elementary in Twin Falls received $500 to fund an elementary school science fair.
Sam Franklin of Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls received $468 for a weather station for the classroom.
Alicia Strand of Van Buren Elementary in Caldwell received $500 for a weather station for the classroom.
Julie Morgan of Cole Valley Christian School in Meridian received $500 for electrical and engineering design for shoebox houses.
Amy Wiltrout of Purple Sage Elementary in Caldwell received $499.87 for a classroom set of programming materials to teach basic programming.
Annette Wall of St Paul’s Catholic School in Nampa received $334.46 for a STEM Challenge Rube Goldberg machine for engineering.
Cheyenne Jedry of Cascade High School received $500 to fund a weather monitoring station.
Brian Whitney of Hidden Springs Elementary in Garden City received $500 for a school weather station.
Shelly Gurney of Emmett Middle School received $500 for a classroom set of RAFT kits to teach physics and engineering.
Leigh Wilson of Potlatch Elementary received $500 to for a school forensic science lab.
Tami Church of Lapwai High School received $500 to fund a classroom solar eclipse view opportunity.
Suzanne Brammer of Juliaetta Elementary received $426 to fund a classroom set of Spheres of Knowledge.
Eric McDowell of Kendrick High School received $500 for a school composting project.