The SIA Foundation awarded grants to several Indiana nonprofit organizations including Mintonye Elementary School, Wea Ridge Middle School and the Greater Lafayette Career Academy.
Third grade teacher Barb Tilley from Mintonye Elementary School received about $4,000 to purchase a variety of equipment to create a makerspace for nearly 500 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The area will be filled with a 3D printer and other items that allow for hands-on experiences in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
“This learning nurtures skills that students will need for college and career readiness, as well as begin to develop essential skills needed for their future employment,” says Tilley. “Having a 3D printer in our makerspace would allow students to have tangible evidence of their thinking and creativity, beyond common toys and art supplies.”
The makerspace will also include a sensory path to help students develop motor skills like balance, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. “Sensory paths provide a brain break and movement that partner with everything available in our makerspace,” Tilley says. “Our staff and students would be able to design, print, and create a variety of sensory paths, for various needs, around our building allowing students to move, regulate, and feel pride in seeing their thinking put to use as we work to develop better brains and bodies.”
Wea Ridge Middle School received $2,164 to purchase equipment for a sensory room. Special education teacher Michelle Bower plans to purchase various tools to expand a space geared toward meeting student needs for a safe place to sooth and de-escalate in a familiar setting. She says the goal is to promote improved mental health and engage a growing population of students with behavioral challenges, adverse childhood trauma, autism and attention deficits. “Multi-sensory rooms in schools are known to improve mental and physical calmness, aid in de-escalation, increase concentration, improve social exchanges and develop gross and fine motor skills,” says Bower.
The SIA Foundation awarded teacher Matt Brogan from the Greater Lafayette Career Academy $14,515 to purchase supplies for advanced manufacturing and welding classes.
Instructor Matt Brogan says funds will help students working with materials like steel and aluminum. “I’ll also purchase a bend test machine which is used in the welding field to certify weld for dual credit with Ivy Tech Community College,” says Brogan. “We will be purchasing electronics diagnostic tools to help understand electricity and how various types of electricity work for different applications.”
Brogan says everything purchased will be directly correlated to our local industry. His classes take several field trips to the local manufacturing facilities and this helps the students see how the real world operates.