Developing Deeper Understanding with Hands-On Labs and Activities

Through our Science Resource Grant program, we at PVF give grants of up to $500 to K-12th grade public school teachers for hands-on materials to enhance their classroom science instruction.

Here are some examples of materials and science lessons we were able to fund and support:

Soil quality field testing kits for students to learn about plant growth and ecosystems

“All 300 of our students were able to incorporate hands-on testing into our studies of biogeochemical cycling. Biogeochemical cycling, and nitrogen cycling in particular, is very abstract conceptually. It is a topic which many students struggle to grasp. After incorporating hands-on labs rather than just lectures and videos, students developed a much deeper understanding of the processes. They also learned important methods that scientists use in the real world to assess environmental health.” –Joseph Centoni, High School Science (Biology, Marine Ecology, and AP Environmental Science) Teacher, Half Moon Bay High School

Chemicals, laboratory tools, and consumable items for students’ hands-on science projects

“Because of your generosity, our students were able to experience fantastic labs and hands-on activities all year! In the students’ favorite project, at the end of the year they got to assume the role of teacher and choose a science demonstration to present to the class. It was inspiring to watch the students’ confidence shine as they presented about physical/chemical changes and endothermic/exothermic reactions. The best thing about the grant is that we will have supplies for the next few years so that we can continue to teach hundreds of students using these labs.” –Alicia Farre, Seventh/Eighth Grade Science Teacher, Oakland Unity Middle School

An expert-guided field trip to Sausal Creek for students to learn about Bay Area ecosystems

“The focus of our current Science unit is ‘Creatures of the Bay’…. However, despite being only a 15-minute drive away, most students had never visited Sausal Creek before. Several parent chaperones told me after the trip that they were planning to come back that weekend, since their child had such a great time…. Please see the photos… for a small sample of the joy that you brought to our students. Thank you again for your generosity!” –Virginia McManus and Rebecca Rubin, Second Grade Teachers, Lighthouse Community Charter Public Schools

New science curriculum supplies for students to learn about forces and motion, space, and atoms and molecules

“Thank you for your grant. It has allowed me to effectively implement the new science curriculum to approximately 160 7th and 8th grade students at Hoover Elementary School. I was able to purchase items that our school did not carry and pilot the new curriculum, which aligned with the new NGSS standards. This would not have been possible without your help.” –Xa Mai, Seventh/Eighth Grade Science Teacher, Hoover Community School

We were able to give out 19 of these Science Resource grants ($9,000) during the 2016-2017 school year.  We anticipate that we will receive renewed funding for this program in the fall.  On top of that, we are excited to report that with support from the Lampert-Byrd Foundation, we will be opening an additional science grant—the Environmental Science Resource Grant—for K-12th grade public school teachers in Alameda County. We look forward to providing increased support for science education in the Bay Area in the coming school year.

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