MONROE - Students across Monroe County will study robots and lettuce, micro-organisms and light, and even take a few field trips thanks to almost $8,500 in mini-grants awarded this month to 28 area educators by the DTE Energy Foundation and the Monroe County Intermediate School District.
Teachers had to submit proposals to the school district to be considered for the grants, which were judged based on how much the projects encouraged problem-solving, decision-making and critical thinking, while
helping students understand energy and the energy industry, DTE Foundation officials said. The school district matched the foundation's awards dollar-for-dollar.
Established in 1990, the DTE Energy Foundation's mini-grants for educators program promotes science and energy studies for students in and out of DTE Energy's service area. The program has awarded more than $600,000 to public and private school teachers since its inception, including $30,000 awarded to educators this year.
The grants include:
●● $300 to Amy Zellen and $400 to Marc Drougel of Monroe High School. Ms. Zellen's students will investigate non-renewable sources of energy and their role in generating electricity, while Mr. Drougel's students will earn about energy in biology by raising hydroponic lettuce.
●●$600 to Ida High School's Larry Feldpausch, which will be used to study alternative fuels and greenhouse gasses.
●●$1,200, or $200 each to six teachers at Meadow Montessori School in Monroe. Pat Gruber's grant will fund hands-on labs to enhance her students' exploration of scientific concepts, including mass, volume, density and gravity. Catherine Hart's grant will purchase materials for circuit boards her students will build as part of their study of electricity. A grant awarded to Meg Fedorowicz will pay for materials to lead students through a series of demonstrations involving force and motion, while teachers Nicole Kibiloski and Rebecca Loope each received grants to help their students study pond ecosystems using microscopes. A fifth grant will help teacher Darcy Piedmonte purchase materials for her class's unit on light as energy.
●●$350 to Sally Golden of Jefferson's Sodt School to pay for a trip to Experiencia, an immersive learning program in Taylor, Mich., for 52 fifth-graders.
●●$400 to fifth-grade teacher Carol Spencer, of Monroe's Raisinville Elementary School, that will be used to study human interaction with the environment.
●●$300 to Whiteford Elementary School teachers Polly Lovell, Sharon Horkey, Shannon Henry, and Patricia Sullivan to help their students study light, including a field trip to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.
●●$350 to allow students at Whiteford High School to participate in the University of Wisconsin's annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, with the help of teachers James Miller and Janet Weygand.
●●$1,500 to teacher Susan Bixler, of Whiteford Middle School, to allow students to participate in the Lake Erie Project, a year-long aquatic ecology program.
●●$200 to teacher Albert Gallan, of St. Charles Elementary School, in Newport, to help students design, build, and program autonomous robots from Lego building blocks.
●●$1,200, or $240 each, to Monroe Public's Lincoln Elementary School to pay for field trips to COSI in Toledo for students in the classes of teachers Pamela Sica, Laura McDuffey, Krisie Mullins, Renee Lauth, and Denise Lemirand.
●●$200 to help students in Kelly Reeves-Emahiser's class at Bedford's Smith Road Elementary study the scientific principles of acceleration, thrust, interita, and other concepts.
●●$1,500, or $500 each to teachers Susan Albach at St. Mary Catholic Central High School; Judy Daniels at Orchard Center High School in Monroe, and Sarah Richardville at Monroe High School to fund their students participation in the River Raisin High School Watershed Monitoring Project. Students in the project learn about hydrological cycles and how to collect and evaluate macroinvertebrates from sites along the River Raisin.