Announcing our Spring 2018 Grant Winners!
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.
Announcing our Fall 2017 Grant Winners!
Grant applicants: Cathy Wolinsky, Amy Finnen and Terry Lincoln
This robotics grant will impact every student at Rowe School. KIBO robot kits are designed specifically for younger learners and will be placed in every kindergarten and first grade classroom in Yarmouth. KIBO robot pieces look and feel like old fashion building blocks. The materials are sturdy, and they work together in an endless variety of ways. Children build their own robot with these materials, program their robot to do what they want, and then students even get to decorate their machines. This decoration piece is unique and exciting because these robots appeal to students with interest in technology, but they also appeal to creative students who are more interested in the arts. These KIBO robots also give students a break from screen time, as they are programmed with their hands, and not using a computer or tablet.
Mobilize the Salmon Hatchery
Yarmouth Elementary School
YEF funded the salmon hatchery at the Yarmouth Elementary School in 2015, and we are thrilled to make an exciting upgrade to this grant. The salmon hatchery is now an important part of the fourth grade life science curriculum, and this latest grant will provide a steel service cart to move the 200-pound hatchery from classroom to classroom, reaching more students at YES. Fourth grade students have been able to observe the Atlantic salmon life cycle from start to finish, but now all YES students will have a better opportunity to observe, learn, and ask questions about this important life science lesson. The fourth grade team of teachers is excited that their own students will be able to spend more time with the hatchery, now that classes don’t have to travel to one fixed location to work on the project.
Harrison Middle School
Grant applicant: Bob Gross
SeaPerch is an innovative underwater robotics program sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and it is coming to Harrison Middle School. This grant will equip teachers and students with the resources they need to build their own underwater robots. This is a new approach to robotics that will have students learning how water can impact technology and design. Students will build these robots from a special kit, using engineering and science concepts, along with a marine biology component. The SeaPerch program is a fun, hands-on challenge that involves working with a team. Each team will end this robotics unit with an underwater launch at a local pool, in the ocean, a pond, or large water tank. YHS engineering students have had great success with SeaPerch, and YEF is excited to bring this program to the middle school.
Grant applicants: Morgan Cuthbert, Tate Gale and Janice Medenica
Seventh grade teachers are excited to bring the new technology of Cubelets to Yarmouth. Cubelets are pre-programmed robot blocks that inspire children to become better thinkers. There are seventeen types of Cubelets and each has a special skill. Cubelets can act like a flashlight, work as a knob, control temperature, or operate like a battery, just to name a few! When the Cubelets are combined, the robot-building possibilities are endless. Cubelets will help teach young learners a new way to code, and it will also help teachers introduce the important systems model of science. This groundbreaking technology will get students excited to dig into the seventh grade science curriculum.
Yarmouth High School
Grant applicants: Laura Esty and Karin Walsh
This grant will impact every freshman at Yarmouth High School. Portland Stage Company is bringing its professional actors, directors, and educators to YHS to perform Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar for the freshman class. It will not only be exciting for students to see a live performance of a play they’ve read and studied, but this performance will be followed by a series of acting workshops. These workshops will get students on their feet and have them acting out the play themselves, as a way to bring the language and story to life. Having professional actors and theater educators share their expertise will greatly enhance their study of the play. This exciting project will also help students work on their reading, thinking, and public speaking skills.
Yarmouth High School
Grant applicants: Marita O’Neill and Jackie Brookes
This grant will help bring history to life for Yarmouth High School students. It will include performances and creative writing workshops by actor and writer David Mills, and they will focus on two important American voices. Juniors and seniors will first see a performance about American poet and social activist Langston Hughes. This play will be followed by an in-class creative writing workshop on Blues Poetry, a genre created by Hughes. This experience coincides with a senior English poetry unit and a junior Harlem Renaissance history unit. The grant does not end here, as it also includes a performance about Dr. Martin Luther King for freshmen and sophomores. It will be timely as the freshmen curriculum includes a section on Americans who are positive agents of change. Sophomores study themes such as social justice and civil rights throughout the year. This performance will also be followed by a writing workshop that explores Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”. Students will write letters about a time they felt silenced or excluded. Teachers believe this grant will help bring these important issues and historical figures to life for all Yarmouth High School students.
Yarmouth High School
Grant applicants: Anne Tommaso and CP Senior English Students
Instead of simply reading Henry IV by William Shakespeare, this project asks CP Senior English students to take their learning one large step further. Students will produce, direct, and act out their own interpretation of Henry IV, but that’s not all. They must create and stick to a budget, market the play, design their sets, and make costumes for their performance. Students say it will give many seniors a chance to act in a play who never have before, it will give them a creative break from typical classroom work, it will give them a better understanding of Shakespeare, and it will include important life skills like working with a budget and public speaking. Tickets to this exciting performance will be available to the entire Yarmouth community.
YEF Spring 2017 Grant Winners
Harrison Middle School
Educators at Harrison Middle School are looking forward to improving student wellness with the addition of desk cycles. These quiet cycles will be placed under student desks in Health Science classroom. Students will be able to pedal while learning, and the goal is to increase the time students are physically active in a regular classroom environment. We know physical activity is beneficial for physical health, but it also boosts brain function including cognition, mood, and behavior. All middle school students will have the opportunity to use these innovative desk cycles when in Mrs. Lambert’s class.
Printmaking Press for the YHS Art Studio
Yarmouth High School
A printmaking press is coming to Yarmouth High School. Art teachers are excited to increase student knowledge and understanding of a process that has been used around the world for hundreds of years. Students will carve a surface, cover it with ink and paper, and then roll it through the press to make copies of their work. Printmaking forces students to think differently as most everything that is printed must be thought out in reverse. The process takes great patience, and this tabletop press will be used at YHS for countless years to come.
YEF Fall 2016 Grant Winners
Blue-Bots: Logical Thinking & Coding Tools
Students at Rowe School will have the exciting opportunity to program robots. Blue-Bots are small robots designed for younger learners that move along special floor mats in the classroom. Children will learn to program the Blue-Bots by writing code on their iPads. Educators believe student reactions will be priceless as they learn to make these Blue-Bots move with the touch of an iPad button. They will help bring science, technology, math, and literacy concepts to life. The Blue-Bots will especially enrich the first grade social studies curriculum as students learn direction, location, and mapping skills. Blue-Bots have clear shells so students can look inside the machines and see the fascinating components that make up their robot.
Mathematics in Action
Yarmouth Elementary School
A previous YEF grant brought Dr. Mehesh Sharma, one of the most respected math teachers in the world, to Yarmouth to spend a day with our K-4 educators. Dr. Sharma strongly believes Cuisenaire Rods are a vital component of teaching mathematics today, and now they will be available to all classrooms at Yarmouth Elementary School. These colorful number rods help bring math problems on paper to life. Children have a natural inclination to play, and these rods give them a physical tool to manipulate and play with to help them visualize and understand abstract math concepts. Cuisenaire Rods are used in math instruction around the world, and now teachers at Yarmouth Elementary School will be able to incorporate them into their math classes on a daily basis.
Yarmouth Elementary School
Breakout boxes are sweeping the nation and now they are coming to Yarmouth Elementary School. Based on popular “escape rooms” across the country, Breakout EDUs are innovative games that teach critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills. A group of students will receive a locked box, and the team works together to solve a series of challenges, riddles, and mysteries in order to unlock their box before time expires. Teachers design clues related to current curriculum, so it is a fun and engaging way to review classroom material.
Electric Car Project
Yarmouth High School
Students at the high school will have the opportunity to build an electric car and then race it in a national competition. Students will work together to design the car, assemble it, and then compete against other high school teams at a race on a professional track in Connecticut. The objective is to keep the car running for one hour on the same battery charge while clocking a competitive speed. The car will be driven by a student and supported by a pit crew of classmates who helped build the vehicle. Students will apply mechanical and electrical engineering concepts they learned in class to this fun project in the real world.
CP & AP Biology Biotechnology
Yarmouth High School
High school biology students in Yarmouth will soon be using the same techniques and equipment found in college science labs and molecular research labs across the country. Students will use advanced biotechnology equipment to conduct a DNA Barcoding project. Students will bring in DNA samples from different species and this new equipment will allow them to freeze the samples, extract DNA, clean and separate the DNA, and then send their results away to be processed. Students then receive a DNA sequence and will be able to research what type of species their DNA sample came from. Biotechnology is an expanding field, and this project will give Yarmouth students an edge coming out of high school. It will be especially useful for students who are interested in the medical field.
All Yarmouth schools
All students in the Yarmouth School Department will have access to the amazing technology of Google Expeditions. This is a virtual reality tool that allows teachers across the district to take students on journeys across the world. Students look through special headsets and can be taken on hundreds of virtual field trips from Versailles to the surface of Mars to famous museums to Antarctica and beyond. It also includes tours of the human body and its systems. Google Expeditions allow teachers to act as the guide and lead their classroom of student explorers through 3D and 360-degree images, while pointing out interesting sights along the way. This technology brings to life animals, buildings, and settings that have previously only been available in photos online or in books. Google Expeditions provide a new and exciting opportunity to connect with classroom content in ways that have never before been possible.
Spring 2016 Grants
Students at Yarmouth Elementary School will participate in the construction of a twig hut on school grounds. Led by Maine artist Susan Perrine, who is an expert in the art of twig structures, this community project will involve every child at YES. Students will work together to build the hut with their own hands by weaving together natural materials such as saplings and twigs. The hut will be strong and lasting, and it will be used as a quiet area, reading nook, and outdoor classroom space. Mark your calendars – twig hut construction will be underway May 17th – 20th!
Students will have the opportunity to learn the innovative Arduino system. It will teach computer programming and problem solving skills, as well as how circuits function. Arduino starter kits contain circuit boards to which students can add components like resistors and sensors. Students will start with structured projects, but once they are comfortable with Arduino, they will be encouraged to get creative and design computer programs all on their own. Mr. Gross will introduce this to the Gifted and Talented students and offer it to others on a drop-in basis. These kits will also be used during the Hour of Code.
4C Studio at HMS
This grant will transform a room at the Harrison Middle School library into an exciting studio space. The 4C Studio at HMS will provide a library space for students to work on projects involving the 4Cs: collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking. The studio will include a green screen wall, glass whiteboard, table and chairs, and a large flat-screen monitor. This flexible space will be an area where students can work collaboratively on projects of all kinds, including ones that involve video production. This upgrade will help align HMS with the new generation of libraries that offer breakout spaces devoted to collaborative and creative work.
Making Learning Real: Shellfish Nursery (HMS)
Seventh grade students will create an outdoor learning lab that includes a shellfish nursery. Students, teachers, and town officials will work together on this project to help solve a serious environmental problem in Yarmouth. Invasive green crabs are eating young clams, causing major problems for our local clamming industry. Students will care for young clams in an upweller located at the Yarmouth Town Landing. They will raise the clams until they are big enough to survive the green crabs and then seed the grown clams into local mudflats. Ninth grade students will help build the upweller that will house the nursery, and students across the district will be invited to observe the nursery. This hands-on project will get students out of the classroom and into their local ecosystems.
Experimentation, Evolution, and Process (YHS)
High school art students will learn new ways to create pottery with lessons from a professional ceramic artist, Tom Christensen. Christensen will create porcelain bird and pinch pot clay sculptures using methods not currently practiced at Yarmouth High School. Students love to watch professional artists in action, and these pottery lessons will help deepen their understanding of ceramics and sculpture. Their finished products will be displayed for the entire school community to enjoy.
Telling Room Residency (YHS)
The Yarmouth High School English Department will welcome the Telling Room, a local nonprofit organization, to YHS to provide a series of writing workshops for college preparation juniors. The Telling Room will bring in writing teachers, professional writers, and community volunteers to work one-on-one with students to create personal narratives that will be shared and published. These workshops will encourage young writers to feel confident and help them discover and develop their voices as storytellers. Teachers hope it will spark a lifetime love of writing for these students.
Robotics Club Competition Field (YHS)
The Yarmouth High School Robotics Club will soon have a new practice field.The Club competes in robotics competitions with schools across the state. Each year the competition presents a new challenge, but it always starts with the same 144-square-foot practice space made from 36 foam tiles. This grant will fund the purchase of a “field kit” so the Robotics Club can practice for these competitions. This new practice field will also allow the Club to host scrimmages. The Harrison Middle School Robotics Club will benefit from this robotics field as well.
SPRING 2015 GRANTS
3D Printers (YHS)
3D printing is a powerful and innovative tool, as many products we use today involve 3D printing in their design. It is the latest technology that educates students in the most modern production techniques. The two 3D printers will expand the current FABLAB equipment at the high school and provide more interactive class activity. Students will design three-dimensional objects and “print” them in plastic. High school students from Art to STEM will have the opportunity to create unique products. We are excited to see what they come up with!
littleBits of Challenge (HMS)
littleBits is a cutting edge electronics program involving all 5th and 6th grade and science club students that challenges the kids to think and design with electronic modules. The 7th and 8th grade students will get hands on experience during the enrichment period. The electronic modules snap together with magnets to create projects with light, sounds, and sensors. The possibilities are endless! Students will develop critical thinking skills that bring curiosity, wonder and problem solving to science and math classes.
One excited person couldn’t wait to get his hands on these!
One Book, One School (HMS)
The book Alabama Moon by Watt Key will be a read-aloud to all students at Harrison Middle School, grades 5 through 8. This novel is a coming-of-age story that has a powerful, uniting theme. After the read-aloud is completed, there will be mixed grade level discussions and an author visit. Key will discuss his experience as an author and his process of writing, and will conclude the visit with a community-wide meeting. Alabama Moon was listed as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time.”
Stay tuned for more information about the author visit and the Yarmouth community presentation.
Skins for Keyboarding (HMS)
Knowing how to type accurately and efficiently is a key skill for middle school students since a great deal of their daily assignments and testing are computer based. The keyboard skins are designed to accelerate keyboard memorization and train students to keep their eyes on the screen and not on their fingers. Becoming better keyboarders will allow the students to focus on the content of the work being asked of them and not struggle with the typing.
Learning to Juggle (YES)
A previous grant for juggling balls and scarves was such a success for one classroom of third graders, a new grant was requested to extend the fun and learning for the entire third grade. Juggling exercises students’ brains and the connections that occur to help improve attentiveness, hand-eye coordination, and visual and motor activity. The focus, stamina, resiliency, and perseverance involved in learning to juggle are transferable to reading, writing, math and science. This activity happens at the morning meeting a few times a week.
Interactive Projection for Learning (YES)
A wireless projection and sound system will transform a YES classroom into a science/technology exploration and interactive learning center. Students will explore new online programs and links to learning sites with simulations and video components. The world comes into the classroom through many applications such as Google Earth field trips and Skype communications.
The Spaghetti Book Club is a website of children’s book reviews – written by kids, for kids! Every second grader will share their own published book review, self-portrait and illustration on this book review website. A one-year subscription for the 2nd grade will provide a place for students to talk about books. This engagement encourages love of reading by giving kids an opportunity to write about books on a personal level and share their reactions with family, friends and other children.
As interest in the successful HMS Robotics program continues to grow, this grant allows for further expansion. This grant will fund additional equipment needed specifically for the 6th grade team members to build their own robot and allow them to get more hands-on experience. All team members will have the ability to design and create with the added parts, batteries, integrated modules, and motors.
Analog Clocks for Executive Functioning Skills (HMS)
Twelve new analog clocks will help our middle school students develop their executive functioning skills that cover time management, task initiation, emotional control, and sustained attention. Because our brains do not keep track of time, being able to see the passage of time on an analog clock actually helps us be better time managers. Analog clocks, unlike digital clocks, allow for the visualization of manageable chunks of time, which has a positive impact on children’s ability to organize, plan and manage task completion. What’s old is new again!
Spring 2014 Grant
Responsive Classroom Professional Development for Educators / Yarmouth Elementary School
“Andy Dousis engaged, energized, motivated, and challenged the Yarmouth Elementary School faculty and staff throughout our professional development day on August 26th, which YEF funded. Andy uses the Responsive Classroom approach to create a safe, joyful and challenging learning environment for every child. Research on Responsive Classroom practices finds that teachers feel more effective and more positive about teaching, offer more high-quality instruction and collaborate more with each other. There are no exceptions at YES.”
~ Betsy Lane Principal, Yarmouth Elementary School
Spring 2013 Grant
Motorized LEGO Construction / Yarmouth Elementary School
“Using the Lego WeDo kits in all of the 3rd grade classrooms last year was very engaging for all the students and has led to additional requests for using the materials. They were used during summer Math Camp and this year we will do an extended unit with 4th graders where they will learn to use the Scratch program to write their own scripts using the motors, sensors and blocks in the kits. The robotics learning continues in 5th grade when they use the Lego Mindstorms materials to build robots in the STEAM curriculum. During last year’s Hour of Code we used the YEF-funded iPads in 1st grade to start students with programming apps that they continued to ask for throughout the year. The ideas of coding and computational thinking are blended with Math learning in all of the grades.”
~ Cathy Wolinsky, Instructional Technology K-4