Crane Schools Receive APS Phoenix Suns STEM Teacher Grants

YUMA, AZ, Dec. 8, 2020 – Teachers at Gowan Science Academy, H.L. Suverkrup Elementary, and Salida del Sol Elementary were recipients of grants up to $2,500 for their innovative approaches to bringing STEM into the classroom. The schools will be implementing their projects starting in January 2021 through the end of the 2020-2021 school year.


In selecting the grant awardees, the selection panel determines if the proposal has measurable, realistic goals to improve student achievement and is obtainable within the grant period; has provided clearly defined and valid objectives and outcomes; and distinctly defines activities related to project goals and can demonstrate quantifiable results.


Each awarded Crane school presented a unique STEM project for their respective students. Jessica Anderson-Novosad, a 6th grade teacher at Salida del Sol Elementary School, proposed a project entitled: Beyond the Field and Into the Classroom with Hydroponics, which would impact 140 students. She will be enhancing her classroom with a hydroponics system that will allow her students to select and grow seeds, plan their planting schedule, research how to best support each plant, and monitor the different variables that affect plant growth while learning about other topics such as sustainable agriculture techniques. The plants that they grow will be donated to support local families that struggle with food insecurity, which makes problem-solving meaningful to students as they realize that they can solve problems that exist within their community.  


Gowan Science Academy will be implementing their project, The Makey Makey Design Process with 140 of their students. Students will merge hands-on creativity with cutting edge technology by using the Makey Makey invention kit system. At the most basic level, this technology makes it possible for any object to become a keyboard so students can interact with a computer using a piece of fruit or a plant. The Makey Makey technology allows students to take ownership of their technology interactions while collaborating within a team. Gowan Science Academy Principal Jamie Haines is most excited to see the creativity generated from these activities. “Watching students create is one of the best things to witness on a school campus. Makey Makey will help drive student creativity. The addition of these Makey Makey Robots will be wonderful! It gives our students another tool to create with, to design circuits, and further their understanding of coding.”


Rachel Mesa, a Kindergarten teacher at H.L. Suverkrup Elementary School applied for her grant because she wanted all 472 students in the school to have a place where they could design, create, test, and reflect on their own experiments and questions. Therefore, her grant proposal, Labs and Exploration at HLS, focused on creating a lab space at her school that would be stocked with materials and equipment like microscopes and building materials. Learning in the lab will provide students with an educationally rich and stimulating environment that will make them excited to explore, invite them to collaborate, have fun, and think outside of the box. Other teachers can schedule to use the lab for their own STEM-related lessons. “I want students to have a place where all questions are encouraged.”


The Crane Elementary School District would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to APS and Phoenix Suns Charities for allowing Crane educators to introduce a variety of innovative and engaging projects and lessons to our students, which will promote their academic achievement and social learning skills, and expand their view of problem-solving. Thank you.