Massachusetts Middle School Receives $30K State Grant

Amesbury Middle School will get a $30,000 Mass STEM Hub grant that will provide hands-on supplemental science, technology, engineering and math equipment as well as classroom material over the next two school years

by Jim Sullivan, The Daily News of Newburyport / February 20, 2020

(TNS) — An Amesbury Middle School math coach intends to keep her students busy for the next two years thanks to a $30,000 state grant.

Jenn Donais began working as a middle school math coach at the beginning of the school year and quickly made an impact, fielding a trio of STEM Week school ambassadors in October, teaching an airborne math lesson from the cockpit of a Cessna T182T in November, and documenting her trip to Abu Dhabi in December.

“She was a good find,” Superintendent of Schools Jared Fulgoni said.

But Donais was only getting started in 2019.

The school district announced that Donais was successful in applying for a $30,000 Mass STEM Hub grant that will provide hands-on supplemental science, technology, engineering and math equipment as well as classroom material over the next two school years.

“I’m a big proponent of STEM learning, so I am obviously trying to bring all our computer, life sciences and technology classes to the next level with this,” Donais said. “When our science teachers are doing this in the classroom, it’s not just a science lesson. There is a science element, but there is also math involved. There was also computer involved and ELA involved.”

The nonprofit education organization Project Lead The Way will provide the supplemental curriculum and Amesbury Middle School is one 82 schools in the state to receive a Mass STEM Hub grant to pay for it.

“Basically, this is an entire STEM engineering program for the school,” Fulgoni said. “It is materials, it’s training, it’s hardware and software, and basically allows us to finally integrate a real STEM integration at the middle school. We can finally teach some engineering.”

The supplemental curriculum will see fifth-graders learning about ecosystems firsthand.

“This is getting the students to see how ecosystems are truly used in real-world situations and then taking that and seeing what problems can be found in the ecosystems,” Donais said. “They’ll be given activities to learn about ecosystems. Then, they will do an inquiry about ecosystems and we’ll have a problem that they have to solve. So it becomes project-based learning at the end.”

Sixth-graders will be given hands-on experience in design and modeling under the new curriculum and seventh-graders will work on solving a medical mystery in the special Medical Detectives unit.

“Someone has been dealing with a particular disease and the students will need to solve a medical case,” Donais said. “They will have to do different tests on these test dummies to figure out what diseases the body has. The best projects will go to a hospital in the end and be given feedback.”

©2020 The Daily News of Newburyport (Newburyport, Mass.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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