Announcing our Spring 2018 Grant Winners!
Grant applicants: Ryan Gleason and Cathy Wolinsky
3D printers are coming to Yarmouth Elementary School! This YEF grant will purchase two 3D printers, which will be an exciting addition to the growing technology lab and maker space at YES. The machines are also portable enough to be moved to individual classrooms. The grant applicants say 3D printers will help students have a hands-on experience with design technology. It will also help students better understand the size, volume, and dimensions of 3D shapes. Educators say these mathematical concepts can be hard to grasp when students have limited access to a variety of 3D shapes in the classroom.
Look Closely! (Yarmouth Elementary School)
Fifty new pairs of binoculars have just arrived at Yarmouth Elementary School, thanks to a YEF grant. Third Grade Teacher Karin Ney has a great view out her classroom window. The wooded area surrounding the school is home to deer, birds and many other species. She was inspired to create an “observation window” when she noticed that the wildlife activity outside would often catch the attention of her students. Mrs. Ney says this natural curiosity often leads to powerful and interesting conversations. She already has a notebook set up near her observation window so that students can record their discoveries, and she is excited to add binoculars! This YEF grant has allowed Mrs. Ney to purchase 50 pairs of binoculars for the entire third grade. She intends to share them with the rest of the school as well.
Grant applicants: Zachary Callahan, Ragan Bartlett and Barb Ellis
Harrison Middle School sixth graders will benefit from a hands-on experience with aquaponics. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (the raising of aquatic animals such as fish) and hydroponics (the cultivating of plants in water). In aquaponics, waste from the fish is used to feed the plants. The growing plants are then able to filter and clean the water. There is no additional fish tank filtering system needed, and fish are fed as you would normally feed your pet fish.
This YEF grant will be used to purchase a micro-aquaponic system for every sixth grade science classroom. The fish themselves will become classroom pets, which is an added bonus to this science experiment.
The science teachers will also invite local aquaponic farmers into the classroom to talk to students about their large-scale operations and how this type of farming is becoming an increasingly popular means of growing sustenance.
Nurturing Curiosity Through Nature (Harrison Middle School)
Students at Harrison Middle School enjoy watching birds outside the library window. They observe bird behavior, record data, and submit their information to scientists working on a bird study at Cornell University. Participating in this scientific study has inspired students, library staff, and teachers to launch activities such as the HMS Birding Club and a brand new group that sketches drawings and writes journal entries about nature.
This YEF grant will be used to purchase plantings to attract more birds and other animals to the area outside of the school library. The grant will also purchase a mounted spotting scope for the library, binoculars, and a high quality digital camera to record observations. Portable outdoor seating will provide a means to participate in outdoor field studies and drawing and journaling sessions. Educators say students enjoy escaped from technology and this grant will spark curiosity, intrigue, and wonder.
Grant applicants: Elena Miller, Georgia Herr, Isaac Grondin, Stefan Bell and Krisztian Kovacs
ThinkLab students at Harrison Middle School are building SeaPerch underwater robots, thanks to a 2017 YEF grant. Students have started testing their new robots in indoor pools and are excited to soon bring their robots outside. A new YEF grant will be used to purchase two GoPro waterproof cameras and cables that can be attached to the robots. The new equipment will provide live feeds to computer monitors and smart devices so that SeaPerch operators can react to whatever their robot encounters. Students will also be able to study what is found at the bottom of local rivers, ponds, and even the ocean. This project started as a math and engineering experience, but soon it will also be an exciting tool to explore biology.
Yarmouth Shellfish Nursery (Harrison Middle School & Yarmouth High School)
YEF is proud to fund an extension to our wildly successful Yarmouth Shellfish Nursery grant. The original grant began four years ago as an independent study with a group of seventh graders. The students had a desire to help protect local soft-shell clams from the invasive European green crab. After growing and transplanting thousands of juvenile clams off the coast of Yarmouth, these students – now juniors at YHS – would like to continue the project but with American oysters. They will partner with a local oyster and kelp farmer to research environmental conditions and growth rate of the oysters. They hope to be able to provide evidence to local farmers on the best places to farm.
This YEF grant will pay for a four-year supply of oyster seed and replacement parts for the existing YEF upweller (an upweller is a place to grow young shellfish). YEF will also fund a drone to take aerial photos and monitor testing sites, solar panels to power sensors that will be mounted to a monitoring buoy, as well as testing kits that will allow students to monitor water quality.
Grant applicants: Holly Houston and Marita O’Neill
Yarmouth High School Art Teacher Holly Houston would like her students to create art while learning about science. She is excited to raise awareness about connections between species in your backyard to species in Casco Bay and how to keep them healthy. A YEF grant will bring in Maine artist Tim Christensen to assist with this project, as Christensen combines his love of clay with his desire to protect the world around him. Christensen will visit YHS for eight days. Art students will create and carve a ceramic piece that shows how a bird in their backyard is connected to a bivalve in Casco Bay. “Students will be asked to not only find and illustrate (with clay) the connections in six jumps, but students will also discover their personal role in keeping these connections healthy,” said Houston.