At schools throughout Pinellas County, students and teachers alike recently experienced the benefits of the Foundation’s Fund a Classroom program. Thanks to generous sponsors, teachers applied for and received funding that allowed them to take their lessons to all new levels. Classroom grants support numerous disciplines, including literacy, the arts, and STEM (science technology, engineering and math). This year, a number of grants introduced students to robotics, from drones at Seminole High School, to a unique STEM Mobile Cart at Westgate Elementary, to “Bee-Bots” at Mount Vernon Elementary.
“My students were so excited to play with robots,” said Sarah Marlow, who teaches technology at Mount Vernon. “We experimented with making a path for our ‘Bee-Bots’ and explored what the robots can do. Second grade especially had a great time with them and did a great job taking turns and sharing.”
As part of Seminole High School’s Sustainable Engineering Academy (SEA), students employed ArcGIS and remote sensing drones to analyze and help protect water quality. “The lessons learned within these platforms integrate 21st century technologies to enhance student understanding of real-world applications that protect water sources,” said Jerry Cantrell, who teaches AP Physics, Environmental Water Technology and Engineering. “The use of drones for remote sensing is an innovative solution for analyzing pollution in wetlands, rivers, and coastal areas. The analysis of data provides opportunities for students in multiple academic disciplines to experimentally determine threats to and potential solutions for environmental and water source impacts.”
The Foundation funds more than a hundred classroom grants every year with support from individual and corporate partners, including the Achieva Foundation, CareerSource Pinellas, Helios Education Foundation, Jabil, Junior League of St. Petersburg, the Nielsen Foundation, Raymond James Financial, Inc., The Sembler Company, the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, Transamerica, and Valley Bank.