Whether creating catapults or studying the three laws of motion, Cleveland High science teacher Holly Parker wanted to ensure her students had the materials needed to succeed.
“I would scrounge around,” Parker said. “Other teachers would have stuff, and they were really great to share, but it is nice to have your own supplies.”
She turned to the Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation’s mini-grant program for help. She wrote out her “Science Palooza” proposal, aptly named for the list of the items she wished to purchase.
According to Parker, she decided ahead of time which projects she wanted her students to complete. She then took note of which items would be needed to complete all of the projects. The foundation awarded Parker the grant, allowing her to move forward with her plan.
The items arrived late in the fall semester. Parker said she could tell her students enjoyed the new materials.
“So far they have loved it,” Parker said. “We have played with the review games and the Newton’s Cradle — they love it a lot.”
Some of the items, like the meter tape, will be used by Parker’s biology classes. Other items will not be used until Parker’s next physical science courses begin. Other teachers can also use the new materials in their classrooms.
Items purchased through the mini-grant include: calculators, timers, spring scales to measure weight and friction, Newton’s Cradle, a wave set to study transverse and compressional waves, a density set to study buoyancy and the displacement of water, two constant motion vehicles, meter tape, meter sticks, energy balls to study conductors, review game and bingo.
Parker said she believes the foundation awarded her the grant because the materials can be used for many different labs over the next several years by many different students.
She said the supplies will allow her to do many different activities for physical science.
Added Parker, “So I am really excited.”
Subjects studied in physical science include density, velocity, momentum, force, work, power, energy, electrical currents, waves, buoyancy and chemical reactions and equations.
It would be easy for a student to become intimidated by the subject matter.
“I do a lot of demonstrations, so I try not to make it scary,” Parker said. “Once they practice it a few times, it is really doable for students. I think they like it and they learn a lot. It is not super-scary hard.”
She described teaching as being rewarding, especially when a student who has had difficulty finally understands the material.
Parker said the materials provided through the mini-grant will make a difference.
“[The foundation] is awesome. I think their grants make such a difference for teachers,” Parker said. “I could not afford to go out and get all of these supplies.”
She said she donates to BCPEF and she encourages others to as well.
She also would like to see other teachers try for a mini-grant.
“I would encourage teachers to write a grant,” Parker said. “It is not that labor intensive, and you can get a lot of cool stuff for your class you would not have otherwise.”