On Feb. 22, 2011, the Boardman Schools Fund for Educational Excellence awarded the first round of teacher mini-grants geared to enhance the opportunities for Boardman students. Another round was held in the fall and last week the third round was announced as three teachers were awarded the grants.
This year's recipients of the grants included Boardman High School science teacher Karl Land and his project titled "Rotating Virtual Science Lab," Glenwood Middle School science teacher Scott Lenhart and his project "Lego Science/Robotics Lab," and middle school health teacher Barbara Feaster and her project "Personal Response Devices for Health."
Land's project involves the purchase of an Apple iPad and programming that will bring a virtual science community inside the classroom. He said the possibilities are huge and gave a few examples, such as astronomy.
Boardman Schools Fund for Educational Exccellent President Gwen Smith-Darnell poses with the 2012 teacher mini-grant recipients that include Boardman High School science teacher Karl Land, Glenwood Middle School science teacher Scott Lenhart, and Center/Glenwood middle school’s health teacher Barbara Feaster.
"We will be able to film motion and animate it on the tablet. He said for students to observe the stars would involve staying up in the early morning hours and watching the stars as they move across the sky. With the iPad, the night sky can be filmed and then played back in the classroom. By using the night sky and animating it forward in time, students can observe exactly where the stars are in real time.
"Students can observe the night sky without being there," he said.
He said the iPad will also allow students to participate in dissection without some of the problems.
"We can do virtual dissection," Land said. "The kids won't have to come into contact with possible contaminates."
The new iPad, according to Land, will be rotated between the science classes at Boardman High School. The amount of his mini-grant was $750.
Lenhart's grant will go towards the purchase of two additional LEGO NCT educational sets. He was awarded $600 that will provide two more robot sets for Glenwood Middle School science classes. He said the school presently has one set, but that is being used for the Robotics Club. The additional sets will allow for the science classes to have a set available when they study robotic science.
"This will allow me to use them in the classroom for demonstrations," Lenhart said.
The third grant of $750 went to Feaster, who is the health teacher for both Glenwood and Center middle schools. Her grant will enable her to purchase PRDs (Personal Response Devices) that will enhance her ability to teach in the health classes.
"These devices are the size of a cell phone," Feaster said. "When I ask a question, the entire class can respond at once, and it's anonymous, so they are more likely to give me a truthful answer."
Through the PRD programming, it will also tell Feaster how many in the class are getting the lesson. If most are answering negatively, she can focus more on the topic until the class understands it.
"It will make it easier for me to teach as to where the kids are at," she said. "I can then plan my lessons to meet their needs."
Superintendent Frank Lazzeri said the mini-grants are helping take Boardman students into the 21st century. More important, the grants allow for the funding of projects that are outside the scope of the school's budget.