Grants – Where to Look and How to Get One
This post was created to help educators find and obtain grants for their STEM programs.
Wanting a grant and getting a grant are polar opposites. Wanting a grant is as easy as pie but getting a grant is like pulling your own teeth. We’re here to make the process of finding and writing a grant a little less stressful. In this post, we will share with you information on where to look for grants and how to apply for them.
Knowing where to look for grants is a mystery within itself. You can Google “grants for education” and even then not find overly-helpful results. This can be very frustrating. So we’ve done the research for you and compiled a list of places to consider looking for grants.
- Donors Choose also has a specific area dedicated to helping teachers bring Makerbot 3D printers into their classrooms. This is known as Makerbot Academy and has over 570 projects successfully funded.
Florida-Specific – Don’t live in Florida? Use these as a springboard to find comparable websites for your state.
- Florida Teacher’s Classroom Supply Assistance Program
- Florida Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- Florida Association of Science Teachers (F.A.S.T.)
- State Department of Education
Other Grant Programs/ Resources
Foundations (ex. Gates, George Lucas Education Foundation)
- Staples Grants – Must be a registered 501c3 to apply
- S.E.C.M.E. (South Eastern Consortium of Minorities in Engineering) – Must have minorities
- IGT After School Advantage Program
- Toshiba K-5 Teacher Innovation Grants
- American Library Association “I Love My Librarian Awards”
- Varkey Foundation 2017 Global Teacher PrizeDigital Wish
- School Advisory
- Council (S.A.C.)
- Parent Teacher Association (P.T.A.)
- Title 1 Funds
Companies Which Have Supported STEM & Maker Education – consider reaching out to these companies with your proposals.
Now that you have a starting point, now we’ll help you with the important focal points you will need to cover during your grant seeking process. Each grant will have slightly different requirements, but use the text we’ve provided below as a starting point for writing your grant application. Please alter this text for your particular envisioned use-case and environment, as grants have noticed multiple users copy-pasting this exactly in their submissions. You will have better results if you personalize it.
Project Narrative – Explain in detail the relevance of your proposal.
What we hope to accomplish with this grant is to engage students at all levels in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and to build a love for these fields integral to the success of our nation. To do this, we propose integrating a 3D printer into the learning environment and supporting the technology with 3D printed kits backed with standards-aligned curriculum. As cutting-edge technology, 3D printing offers many benefits to schools previously unavailable. 3D printers are capable of bringing the factory directly into the classroom, eliminating excess red tape and allowing schools to access exactly what they need when they need it. Many 3D printed items can be produced in-house for cheaper than they can be purchased at a traditional manufacturer. Furthermore, certain hands-on learning tools can only be created using this new technology.
To get the full benefit of the 3D printer, we plan to pair it with a subscription to education-focused company MyStemKits.com. MyStemKits.com offers subscribers access to their library of 3D-printable kits as well as the vetted curriculum that comes with it. By using their library of over 100 STEM kits, we’ll be saving ourselves time in developing kits and curriculum specific to the technology. Instead, all that work will be accomplished through the purchasing of the subscription to MyStemKits.com. Their product is a combination of tried and tested 3D models which can be printed on the 3D printer we’ll be purchasing as well as standards-aligned curriculum written by a team of teachers and content area experts. The curriculum team is based out of the Florida Center for Research in S.T.E.M. at Florida State University and boasts over 5 PhDs and over 100 years of upper-level education and over 100 years of K-12 teaching experience. The curriculum they write is research-based, standards-aligned and is tested in classrooms around the state of Florida and adjusted based on teacher feedback. Each piece of curriculum comes with a Teacher Guide, Student Handouts, and Student Assessments. Each kit comes with detailed pictorial assembly instructions as well as any additional information teachers may need to use the kits. Together, they provide an end-to-end solution to integrating this technology seamlessly into classrooms.
Budget Narrative – Calculate the individual cost of all the elements needed for your program. This will determine the size of the grant you will need. For sample budgets,
Evidence of need – Provide your need and the reason your need warrants the assistance of a grant.
The US Department of Education website outlines the demand for proficiency in STEM fields globally as well as the need for America to not fall further behind in these fields. “In a world that’s becoming increasingly complex, where success is driven not only by what you know, but by what you can do with what you know, it’s more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information. These are the types of skills that students learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math—subjects collectively known as STEM. Yet today, few American students pursue expertise in STEM fields…not enough of our youth have access to quality STEM learning opportunities and too few students see these disciplines as springboards for their careers…[O]nly 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career. Even among those who do go on to pursue a college major in the STEM fields, only about half choose to work in a related career. The United States is falling behind internationally, ranking 29th in math and 22nd in science among industrialized nations.” http://www.ed.gov/stem
How does this program generate interest in STEM?
As a new technology, 3D printing is interesting to students. Just knowing the objects come from a 3D printer engages them in the process. By seeing the objects created from nothing and from assembling the pieces into a usable object, students become invested in it and subsequently in what it can teach them.
Additionally, the curriculum offered by MyStemKits.com is based on the newest research in what works and how to engage students. The in-classroom testing also helps the designs become optimized for learning. Because they offer kits Kindergarten through High School, their program builds a solid foundation in STEM topics from the ground up to support education at all levels and in all circumstances. Furthermore, many of the kits they offer are interdisciplinary, integrating STEM topics together in a real-world fashion. Thus replicating the complexity of the world, they are not only training students for the challenges they will face in the workplace, they are also able to reinforce science concepts in math class and vice versa to further reinforce cross-curricular concepts.
Finally, it has become clear in recent years that students do not all learn in the same fashion. Integrating kinesthetic and visual learning methods for concepts that are generally reserved for lectures or book-learning allows for alternative learners to better grasp the concepts.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Increased number of students expressing interest in pursuing a STEM career.
- Increased standardized test scores.
- Reduction of students failing STEM courses.
- More hands-on learning lesson plans implemented during the year than previously.