STEM awards grants to GEMS, PTA

— The Idaho STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Action Center recently awarded more than a quarter-million dollars in PK12 grants to education professionals and organizations throughout the state — including $4,800 to Grangeville Elementary Middle School and the Grangeville Elementary Middle School PTA.

The grants provide recipients, such as kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, libraries, and out-of-school organizations, with up to $2,500 each to fund innovative science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer-science projects.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said the effort is fueling an array of creative and exciting STEM-learning opportunities.

“The hands-on, project-based activities the STEM Action Center’s grants enable will engage and inspire the scientists, engineers, and technicians of tomorrow,” Gov. Otter said. “Experiential learning efforts like these are critical to building Idaho’s future work force.”

Approved projects range from electronics and robotics, drones and solar cars, and anatomy and physiology equipment like microscopes and plastic models to water-quality testing kits for analyzing fish habitats, camera trap systems for studying birds and mammals, and augmented reality systems to explore earth sciences concepts.

Angela Hemingway, the center’s executive director, said it’s an exciting time to be involved in STEM education in Idaho. “STEM knowledge and skills are important to the future of Idaho’s economy and long-term prosperity,” she said. “STEM-related jobs pay well in Idaho, and for each new STEM job five more jobs are created.

The STEM Action Center also awarded more than $47,000 in PK12 grants to 15 other North Central Idaho recipients including Nezperce Elementary School, Nezperce, Nezperce School District No. 302, Nezperce, and Orofino High School, Orofino Palouse Prairie Educational Organization.

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