The Mountain Times

°F Sat, April 19, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

VASE announces K-12 Small Equipment Grant awards

Two Rutland school were beneficiaries of the first year grants


The Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering (VASE) is pleased to announce the awarding of six competitive equipment grants to K-12 educators in Vermont. VASE recognizes the need to interest more students in Science and Engineering careers in order to support the State's ambitious economic and quality of life goals. This program was designed to increase student interest by providing the opportunities for them to experience the excitement of science and engineering through direct, hands-on activities.

Emphasis was placed on innovative, exciting projects which were designed to go beyond the standard laboratory experience and which incorporated devices that would fall outside of the budgets for traditional classrooms.

In the first year of the program, a statewide solicitation generated 12 exciting projects.  Based on the funds available, six of the projects were funded and are being currently implemented in the 2012-2013 school year.

There is a range of projects including:
Addison Central School - Amy Clapp developed a project entitled "Engineering Design Challenge." Students in grades K-6 get the opportunity to experience the engineering design process while they are still learning content from the core science content. 
Barnet School - Cindy Moesdale and colleagues used data from local weather monitoring stations to explain weather measurements.

Dummerston School - Bob Glennon has his students learn to build and program a Lego vehicle to perform tasks.
Northwest Primary School - Phoebe Guevin in Rutland developed a project "Engineering a Pollinator" to improve a pollinating device.

Rutland High School - Erica Wallstrom and her colleagues have developed a Maple Sugaring Unit in which the science classes collected the sap each day and did measurements to answer questions such as how do tree type, soil salinity and PH affect sap flow? 

Swanton Elementary - George Raynak, Kirsten Belrose and colleagues have incorporated a 3-D printer into classroom activities to create physical model for their science and math classes.

Given the success and impact of this program, VASE is pleased to announce a second year of competition for small equipment grants in the range of $500 to $1,000 each.  Proposals should present the outline of an independent, student centered project that will be enabled by the equipment in question. Student input in the design is encouraged.  Proposals should be submitted by July 1 and awards will be made by August 1.  Interested persons are encouraged to contact VASE president Chris Allen christopher.allen@uvm.edu for more information.

Additional information about VASE and its outreach programs may be found at www.uvm.edu/~vase/