PM Ed Foundation awards $48,000 in grants

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Penn Manor students will be building habitats for bats and bees, creating prosthetics with a rapid prototyping 3D printer and learning stress-reduction skills, thanks to Venture Grants awarded to their teachers by the Penn Manor Education Foundation.

The grants total more than $48,000 and range from $64 for geography games for Central Manor Elementary second-graders to $8,459 for pH, moisture and CO2 sensors for Penn Manor High School students enrolled in Plant Science courses.

Here is a list of our most recent grant-funded projects.

In between are grants for musical instruments and equipment, high-definition television video cameras, culturally diverse elementary books, brain games, bowling equipment and makerspace materials. In all, 36 projects were approved.

One of them was the Traveling Trunk Outreach Program, which brought Landis Valley Museum volunteers to the Conestoga Elementary School fifth grade in December to give students a feel for what daily life was like in Colonial America.

The fifth-graders learned to card wool to create yarn for weaving, identify and cross mend artifacts and make Colonial-era folk art and thaumatropes – simple optical illusion toys made with paper and string.

“I really liked all of it,” said fifth-grader Celia Rivera. “But I really enjoyed learning to make a fire with flint and steel. It was much harder to do than I thought!”

Celia’s teacher, Meridith Eckroat, said the program reinforced the lessons students learned during the “Thirteen Colonies” unit of the school’s social studies curriculum.

“Rotating through four stations kept the students’ attention, and they were able to take much of what they learned and created home with them,” Eckroat said. “I am so pleased with the connections the students were able to make between the activities that Landis Valley provided and what we learned.”

Other Venture Grants extended beyond the classroom. One paid for a presentation for high school students on abusive dating relationships; another helped economically disadvantaged students pay for AP test and college application fees. Venture Grants also support a mentoring program that helps students transition from middle school to high school.

“I don’t know that our donors realize the immediate impact their contributions have on Penn Manor students,” said Anne Kinderwater Carroll, executive director of the Penn Manor Education Foundation.

“Venture grants provide opportunities to teachers to take measured professional risks, expand on current curriculum and make connections beyond the classroom,” she said. “Innovative teaching allows for growth, change and new approaches to seeking solutions.”

In all, the grants will enhance learning for hundreds of students at all 10 Penn Manor schools. Since 2000, the Education Foundation has awarded more than 700 grants totaling more than $750,000. More information is available at www.pennmanor.net/foundation

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