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News

August 2, 2017

(L-R): Farren Elliott, Dart Foundation; Adam McGee, Dart Foundation; Teresa Raines, Indian Creek Middle School; Lisa Phillips, Dart Foundation; and Avery Edge, Dart Foundation.

The Dart Foundation recently awarded Indian Creek Middle School teacher and STEM project leader, Teresa Raines, with a grant to enhance the school’s STEM program. Representatives from the Dart Foundation visited the school on July 27 to present Raines with a check for $2,225 to implement her program, “Solving Our World’s Problems.”

“Congratulations and a sincere thank you to Ms. Raines on behalf of the Indian Creek family,” said Dr. Swade Huff, principal of Indian Creek Middle School. “We are fortunate to have dedicated professionals who have a desire to create optimal learning opportunities for our students.  The teaching and learning process can definitely be a challenge, but it is rewarding to know that organizations such as the Dart Foundation are willing to support our efforts.”

According to Raines, each of the three grade levels at Indian Creek will research, design, and engineer a solution to a 21st century problem, working collaboratively to master content area requirements for each project.

“Access to clean water is essential to the welfare of all communities and promotes the sixth grade theme of ‘Feed the World,’” Raines explained. “Engineering better medicine will enhance the lives of people in our community and promotes the seventh grade theme of ‘Heal the World.’ Restoring and improving urban infrastructure gives our student engineers the opportunity to create new approaches and methods, as well as communicate their value to our society, promoting the eighth grade theme of ‘Fuel the World.’”

She added, “These unique challenges will need special solutions that are designed for sustainability, consideration for environmental and energy-use, and aesthetic elements that will contribute to a person’s quality of life. The Grand Challenges for Engineering are widely cited in research as areas needing attention and students, even at a young age, can contribute to solving these complex issues.”

Under the direction of STEM teachers, Indian Creek sixth grade students will investigate water availability and technologies available to provide clean water, review current technology, and will ultimately propose new or improved solutions for communities. The seventh grade class will investigate DNA and its variations that occur in the human body, understand predisposed diseases and peoples’ response to treatment. They will investigate “personalized medicine” and treatment based on individual differences.  At the eighth grade level, students will research the fundamental infrastructure systems that support a community, design/engineer an integrated solution to provide stability in areas that have aging and failing infrastructures, and meet the peoples’ needs in an affordable way. Their solutions will overcome current barriers related to population growth, natural disasters, accidents, and terrorist attacks around the world.

“STEM teachers will develop at least one project per nine weeks related to the grade level engineering challenge,” said Raines. “The projects will be developed based on interrelated grade level math and science state standards and English language arts state standards supporting research, reading, writing, and presentation skills.”

Raines noted that the STEM teachers will facilitate a student centered classroom, allowing students to develop solutions within the guidelines of their engineering challenge. They will also collaborate to develop lessons, confirm expert guidance and participation, approve appropriate fieldtrips, and ensure student progress and successful engineering challenge completion.

“Indian Creek’s project is extremely interesting in that the students will be working on solutions to real world problems,” said Emily Matthews, Dart Foundation manager. “The Dart Foundation likes how each grade will have different challenges that are based on interrelated grade level math and science state standards. Indian Creek presented a strong implementation plan and a very thorough budget. The Dart Foundation loves receiving requests like this from enthusiastic educators who are working hard to prepare their students for the future.”

Matthews added, “The Dart Foundation’s co-founder, W.A. Dart, was thinking about, talking about, and advancing STEM education long before “STEM” became the universal acronym we all use so freely today. The Dart Foundation Board continues to honor his legacy by making STEM education a primary focus of giving. The Board believes that by providing teachers with the tools to educate the next generation, this will help them improve their quality of life and that of their community in the future.”

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