It’s a contest in which clicks make all the difference. In order for Alicia Davis of the La Grange Elementary School faculty to win a $2,500 grant for her school, she has to encourage supporters to vote for her grant proposal by clicking on the Farmers Insurance Thank America’s Teachers website.
Votes can be cast daily through October here. Davis expects winners to be revealed the end of November. Based on vote totals, 180 teachers nationally will be awarded grants.
Davis, who bolsters technology-based teaching at La Grange as the school’s digital learning specialist, is also advisor to the schools STEAM Club, which focuses on technology and is the group from which La Grange draws its Science Olympiad competitors. Davis’s winning the grant would be a win for the STEAM Club.
“We would like to get a LEGO lab in here, so we want to get as many LEGOs as we can in all sizes, shapes and colors,” Davis said. “Also, because their iPads have Bluetooth we’d like to get LEGO WeDo.2, so after they build it they can make it move with their iPad like a robot. We want to give them that hands-on aspect of building.”
Here is Davis formal project description from the Thank America’s Teachers site:
“Our newly formed STEAM club has shown great interest in building and creating designs that model real world objects and structures. We are looking to create a LEGO creation station for our after-school STEAM club that meets every Tuesday. The LEGO creation station would be a learning space where students can engage and learn more about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math through cross disciplinary play, experimentation, and craftsmanship utilizing LEGOS. Our desire for this learning space is to inspire students to become participatory learners where they can uncover their talents, needs, and interests by making, producing, revising, and collaborating with their peers. In order to do this we need LEGOS of all sizes, shapes, and colors. We also would like to provide students with LEGO WeDO.2 which integrates Bluetooth technology which allows students to control their LEGO models (cars, trucks, etc.) with their iPads.”
In its second year, the STEAM Club is comprised of 25 third, fourth and fifth grade students recommended by their teachers and parents. “Our club really wants to build,” Davis said. “A lot of them have no clue how to build and retry something; they don’t have that at home. We do a lot of projects that require them to do problem solving. As they’re doing it, we’re having them write and record what they’re doing – the success and challenges that they’ve had – so they can look back and see they weren’t the only one having this challenge.”
Davis’s challenge, of course, is getting word of her grant quest out among potential supporters and encourage their daily clicks. “I’ve circulated the information at the school and on Facebook and I’m bugging all my cousins,” she said. “We’re trying.”
Davis is the only LCPS teacher competing for the Farmers Insurance grant.