The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with EPB and Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated (a TVA retiree organization) have awarded 10 schools in the Chattanooga area with $36,000 in STEM Grants. This year TVA awarded $800,000 in grants to nearly 200 schools across TVA’s seven state service territory impacting more than 72,000 students.
The competitive STEM grant program, operated in partnership with Battelle, received more than 600 grant applications. Teachers could apply for up to $5,000 and preference was given to grant applications that explored TVA’s primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic and career development and community problem solving as well as pandemic related projects.
“TVA is committed to supporting STEM education to help develop today’s students into tomorrow’s engineers, scientists and IT professionals,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. “It’s inspiring to be able to contribute to the innovators of the next generation."
Chattanooga Central High received $2,500 to teach students how electricity flows by learning to assemble a personal computer and creating a user manual. “Students will learn about thermal compounds, heat transfer, bridging circuits and shorting out the motherboard,” said Central teacher Nathan Dawson. “They’ll disassemble the computer as well. Past students have told me they’ve helped fix a loved one’s PC with this knowledge.”
Saint Jude Catholic School received $5,000 to build a solar powered hydroponic greenhouse to grow fruits and vegetables. “Our intention is to integrate solar panels to make a net-zero energy system for operating the pumps and fans required for hydroponic gardening,” said St. Jude teacher Lucinda Millard. “We’ll also collect water from rain barrels to circulate through our irrigation systems.”
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School received $2,500 for a Weather and Energy Project. “This will be an invaluable tool for our students to experience data collection and analysis related to renewable energy sources and weather using analog and digital instruments,” said OLPH educator Catherine Clifford. “Students will have access to project-based learning materials to record precise measurements of indoor and outdoor weather conditions in their environment and learn how to generate accurate forecasts.”
Lookout Valley Middle High received $3,500 for a new 3D design project. “ZSpace is a computer system that allows students to view and manipulate creations with 3D glasses,” said LVMH teacher Kevin Spann. “The program combines both augmented and virtual reality. Their creations will appear to be floating in front of the ZSpace laptop.”
Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy received $5,000 to teach students to code. “We will use Bee Bots, SphereOs, and the Drone Camp package to teach introductory level coding,” said CDESA teacher E. Courtney Smoker. “Students will learn the basics of coding through games and play and then will program the robots to perform tasks.”
Stone Creek Elementary received $1,000 to create a digital kindergarten. “Students who learn through hands-on approaches, as well as fast finishers will be able to use technology tools to create and build in their own home,” said Brittany Young, a fully digital teacher at Stone Creek Elementary. “This will also provide them with opportunities to read various leveled digital books and engage them in a more rigorous online curriculum.”
Chattanooga Charter School of Excellence received $5,000 for 3D printers. “Students can create a model of a cell, print an important object from a story to show understanding or print 3D graphs in math,” said CCSE STEAM teacher Laurie Henry. “They can create an artifact from an historic event or engineer the solution to a STEM challenge.”
East Ridge Middle received $1,500 for a 3D printer. “Students will design and build virtual 3D models in CAD programs and manufacture real models using those designs,” said ERMS teacher Jonathan Westcott. “Then they’ll create projects while learning about Newton’s laws of motion, earthquake proof designs, and the fossil record.”
Ridgeland High received $5,000 to start a robotics club. “Our students will construct and program VEX robots to compete against other teams in the area. This is an extension of our middle school robotics programs, so students can continue to pursue their interests in STEM fields, particularly engineering and programming,” said RHS teacher Mandi Dean. “As a math and computer science instructor, I’ve had students begging me for years to get a robotics program up and running.”
Lakeview Middle received $5,000 to provide all students in grades 6-8 with the opportunity to participate in computer science courses for the first time. “Our dream is that our STEAM space will become the hub for Robotic Clubs, Girls Who Code, Hackathons and more,” said LMS teacher Evonne Hackett.
A full list of the grant recipients can be found at www.tvastem.com.