The grant will fund student experiences and creative learning.
Hydroponic gardens, creating a broadcasting studio, and engineering new traffic flow to keep bus riders safe – these aren’t examples of college coursework; these are examples of future student projects at five MNPS middle schools.
Five middle schools have been selected to receive a total of nearly $16,000 to use for projects that support creative STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) learning and interdisciplinary studies throughout their school buildings, thanks to a grant from Dell Nashville.
Middle school STEAM teachers across the district had the opportunity to apply for the Dell STEAM Innovation Grant, which has provided more than $50,000 in funding to MNPS middle schools over the last five years.
“These teachers are the teachers our children will remember forever, and we’re thrilled to be able to provide funds to make their innovations possible in hopes of sparking an interest in STEAM at a young age,” said Shoshana Samuels, Dell site director and U.S. sales manager. “We continue to value our partnership with MNPS and the Community Foundation to provide engaging STEAM education and view this annual grant as a way to give MNPS students opportunities that will encourage continued interest.”
Centering the student experience is an important consideration for the STEAM Innovation Grant and is something MNPS teachers spoke to in their applications. Bringing student learning off the pages of a textbook and into interactive experiences creates an even more dynamic learning environment for all students. <
“This is an incredibly important investment for students because it allows them to take their learning beyond paper and pencil,” said Graham Spencer, a math teacher at Goodlettsville Middle School. “They are able to see the importance of what they are learning in classes and see the real-world applicability of their studies.”
Antioch Middle School
The STEAM class at Antioch was awarded $3,000 to purchase professional audio and video podcasting equipment to teach students about audio and video engineering with a plan to broadcast the school’s sporting events and other activities.
“It is more important and necessary than ever to invest in our students for several reasons. With technology advancing so rapidly, it is essential that we teach our students skills that are going to be useful for future jobs,” said Tomás Yan, a STEAM teacher at Antioch.
Antioch is no stranger to creative and innovative projects created in part through the Dell STEAM Innovation Grant – the school is a three-time grant recipient.
Croft Middle Design Center
Croft was awarded $999 to purchase a hydroponics tower garden, which is a vertical aeroponic garden system that will allow students to grow their own produce in the classroom with only water and liquid nutrients while learning about healthy eating and agricultural techniques.
“Exposure is the most important determinant in choosing a career,” said Dr. Julie Petway, a science teacher at Croft. “This investment of new garden towers means I can expose my students to a healthy way of living and growing, letting them be engaged in a healthy lifestyle while incorporating our science standards.”
Goodlettsville Middle School
Student voice was central to the application submitted by Goodlettsville math teacher Graham Spencer.
“My students have been incredibly invested in the grant process. It started before I applied. I had my students fill out the application themselves to gauge their interest and see what ideas they would come up with to increase STEAM activities at our school. One common theme that was presented was real-world applications and the creation of a safer school environment. We crafted our goal together: to create a safer school through designing traffic mitigation efforts for the bus lane at our school,” Spencer said.
Through the Dell STEAM Innovation Grant, Goodlettsville was awarded $4,500 to purchase material that will be used to engineer an alternate route to reduce traffic flow in the parking lot of the school and increase student and faculty safety – using skills like research, design and engineering.
John F. Kennedy Middle School
Dr. Jacqueline Price, the librarian at JFK Middle, submitted the grant application with the hope that students could take STEAM learning materials home – continuing their learning even outside of school.
“Receiving this grant provides our library a wonderful opportunity to help our students ‘check out’ and engage in STEAM activities,” Price said.
The STEAM Makerspace at JFK Middle will be home to new STEAM kits that can be checked out – like library books – allowing students to participate in active, hands-on learning while at home, thanks to their $3,000 award.
McMurray Middle School
A science and social studies class at McMurray will use their award of $4,469 to help build a STEAM program that supports every student, especially their EL population. They plan to purchase new telescopes, microscopes, digital cameras, heating pads and other materials.
“A student cannot love what they do not experience. With Dell’s partnership and support, our talented and innovative teachers can imagine and create unique experiences for their students focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics,” said Dr. Jennifer Berry, MNPS’s director of STEAM and Science. “These experiences create awe, wonder, and opportunity for students as they explore their world. We are thankful to Dell for providing $50,000 to Metro Nashville Public Schools over the past five years.”