Co-op awards local schools nearly $8,000 in Bright Ideas grants

a group of students receiving the Bright Ideas grantAs part of its Bright Ideas program, Roanoke Electric Co-op has awarded $7,892 in grant funding to six local teachers in support of innovative classroom learning projects for their students.

The teachers were selected based on a competitive evaluation process. This year’s winning projects underscore the co-op’s commitment to educational opportunities emphasizing science, technology, engineering and mathematics, referred to as “STEM.”

“It’s always a pleasure to award such innovative and committed educators with Bright Ideas grants,” said Patrice Jordan, the co-op’s coordinator of community relations and engagement. “Not only will these projects engage students to think outside the box, but they will also build upon the skills they need to become future leaders.”

What follows is a summary of this year’s winners:

Sphero Heroes

Teacher: Lori Lolies of Gatesville Elementary, Gatesville

Funding will go towards giving students real-world learning experiences in robotics. The school recently purchased a set of Sphero robots that require smart devices to operate. The grants will allow students to use iPads to take on new challenges with the robots. This project will serve at least 130 students in grades 3-5 for many years to come.

Project Podcast

Teacher: Shannon Dickinson of Chaloner Middle, Roanoke Rapids

Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will be guided through the process of writing quality narratives and then taught how to produce their own original podcasts. This project will merge project-based learning with digital media analysis and production skills.

Increase Engagement with the Qball

Teacher: April DeBerry of Conway Middle, Conway

The school recently purchased two Qballs, which are throwable wireless microphones, wrapped in durable foam. The learning tools seek to increase student participation and engagement during classroom activities.

Bringing Fairy Tales to Life

Teacher: Brooks Ard of William L. Manning Elementary, Roanoke Rapids

Students will work collaboratively to solve engineering challenges related to well-known fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood. Most challenges will require students to construct an object meeting certain specifications that will help the main character solve a problem, i.e. a basket for Red Riding Hood.

Operation Breakout

Teacher: Kathleen Cochran of Conway Middle, Conway

Operation Breakout is a challenging but fun educational activity that is based on the ever-popular escape room phenomena. Students, working in small groups, solve a series of logic problems in order to “breakout” of a locked room or open a locked box. Critical thinking is the key. Students are challenged with varying types of logic problems and puzzles that center on a theme.

Math Champions

Teacher: Grace Smith of Willis Hare Elementary, Pendleton

Math Champions is an annual math competition that was started four years ago to foster the love of math, improve math problem-solving skills, encourage teamwork and refine critical thinking. Northampton County Schools and five surrounding school systems participate in this annual event. The event takes place at Chowan University and grades 3-8 participate.

Visit the Bright Ideas grant program page for more information.