Uzoff teaches Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and engineering curriculum to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Legos are a key learning tool for these students’ PLTW lessons and when learning abruptly moved solely online last March, many students didn’t have Legos at home and had to search for alternatives such as pillows, toy cars, and fruit to build their projects. In order to give students equitable opportunities to build using Legos, Uzoff applied for the grant. Thanks to the California Credit Union grant, RSS student “Dream Builders” now each have their own set of Legos to incorporate into their Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) education!
“Our students are super creative and resilient so it was no surprise that they used their ingenuity to build,” said Uzoff. “My Dream Builders project gives every child the tools and access to use their imagination, engineering prowess, and problem solving skills to dream big. This grant means the world to me because now all my students are able to build together with the entire class over Zoom.”
Some examples of PLTW projects the ESUSD K-5 students work on include learning about design through structure and function where students execute the design process and explore how engineers influence their lives. This module completed by grades K-5 includes having students design paint brushes and then testing for structure and function. Third grade students are exploring the science of flight by applying their knowledge and skills to design, build and test an experimental model glider to explore forces that affect flight. Robotics and automation are being explored by fifth graders who are using Vex kits to build and test robots.
The California Credit Union grants help fund a wide variety of programs illustrating the commitment teachers bring to their classrooms and communities in today’s virtual learning environments. Since the creation of the program in 2012, California Credit Union has awarded $125,000 in teacher grants to support classroom programs. Up to 20 grants are awarded bi-annually in the spring and fall. Any full-time classroom teacher in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, and Riverside County can apply for a grant for a program that has clearly defined learning objectives tied to students’ academic needs, displays creativity in education, and targets a significant number of students. More information is available here.