1st Grade Steam

Grant Applicant
Jennifer Kavanagh, Laurel Raymore, Danielle Beymer
School Site
Kings Beach Elementary
Grant Category
Mathematics & Science
Grant Date
Description (10 points)

The 1st Grade STEAM grant will give students access to weekly STEAM activities, directly boosting their understanding of core mathematical and science concepts, allowing teachers to more effectively hit engineering standards, and increase Spanish oral and written production. 

Benefits of Program (10 points)

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for first grade cover some topics that require tangible exploration. These include light, sound, waves, and communication. There are also specific engineering standards, in which students must design structures that mimic plants, and create inventions that mimic animal characteristics. Having STEAM equipment will allow students to understand the concepts within these standards in a concrete way. While our school STEAM lab has a lot of good materials, our science teacher uses most of the materials that align to our units in her class, so we cannot check them out. Having these materials for just 1st grade would allow repeated access for multiple collaborative explorations.

In the realm of math, students are expected to use various objects to create models of addition and subtraction, for measurement of length, height, and width, and to create their own models of standard and non-standard 3D shapes. The materials our math program provided include only foam dots, bendy straws, and linking cubes for these activities. Have a variety of differently connecting engineering materials will be both more engaging for students, and also broaden their understanding of math modeling in various contexts. 

Finally, these materials will benefit students oral and written production. Horacio Sanchez, author of A Brain-Based Approach to Closing the Achievement Gap (2008), and a two-time visitor to our district, explains how motor activity helps language production. Research shows that when students engage the motor part of the brain, they can more easily access the lingual parts, allowing for easier recall of vocabulary as well as increased production of writing. As we are a dual-language school, where all students are learning a second language, actual STEAM equipment is critically important. It is even more so specifically for first grade, when students write multiple sentences about their academic experiences and learning for the first time.

Success of Program (10 points)

Our writing program has 3 twelve-week units. One unit is "teaching books" (informative), where students write about the various academic topics they have learned. As discussed in the above section of this grant, students will likely write more, and higher quality, teaching books if they have concrete experiences and explorations to write about.

We also expect students to be show a deeper understanding of the science concepts embedded in our science standards, as measured by final projects in each unit. District math assessments as well as teacher-designed project -and activity-based assessments will allow us to determine students' understanding of 3D modeling and measurement. Hopefully, students will have a greater understanding of these two very hands-on mathematical areas through increased exploration and communication/processing about the activities.

Implementation (10 points)

We teach science almost every week of the year, and usually have do a science activity daily within the week. These materials will be used starting in October each year, when we begin our first science unit, and thereafter throughout the rest of the year until the last day. We will use them in centers and whole group explorations. 

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

The entire grant will be shared among the 1st grade level.

All purchased items are non-consumable and should last several years.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$822 - Amazon list
Budget Notes

Itemized budget is in PDF format.

Other funding sources

We have already used our allotted PTO funding on consumable materials such as art supplies. 

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