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Minigrants fund hands-on teaching tools
new slt minigrant-hofflinger
Jake Hofflinger, Great Bend High School, was awarded a minigrant to purchase a 1:4 Scale Visible V-8 Engine for teaching students interested in auto mechanics.

Editor’s note: This is the final story in a series about the Great Bend Education Foundation’s 2016-2017 minigrants.

Whether it’s designing a kite, working on a V-8 engine or using digital technology to tell a story, students in Great Bend USD 428 will have more opportunities next year thanks to the minigrants awarded by the Great Bend Education Foundation. Teachers submit grant applications that describe the cost of an item not covered by the school budget, and describe how it will enhance education opportunities. The minigrants are funded through donations and fundraisers.
Some of the grants funded for 2016-2017 include:

Digital Collaborative Storytelling — Cathie Lewis as Great Bend Middle School applied for this $484 grant so seventh-grade English students could utilize microphone headsets for digital storytelling. Students first research and immerse themselves in a cross-curricular study of literature, history, science and math. After researching, they will create multimodality presentations to represent their learning. With microphone headsets, students can record high quality audio and listen to clips of multimedia research without disrupting other groups working in the same area. The headsets are compatible with Chromebooks so will have future use as well.

Versatiles — A purchase of a Versatiles CD-Rom will benefit grade 7-8 MTSS intervention students, said Carley Wells at GBMS. The Versatiles Math Site License CD-ROM and the Versatile Answer Cases provide a hands-on, self-checking system with immediate feedback for students. The goal of this $1,399 grant is to help students become more successful in math.

Plan, Design, Build and Fly a Kite — Grant funding of $668 will enable students to integrate cross-curricular disciplines of science, math and art through an engineering exercise of kite building, said Brian Hutchinson at GBMS. Students will employ measuring, scale equations and geometric design modeling to construct their kite within certain cultures and they will then embellish their models with artistically rendered designs. Finally, students will test their building, modeling, designing and fabrication by flying the products.

1:4 Scale Visible V-8 Engine — Auto mechanics is a career that appeals to many, yet often the students lack mechanical knowledge. Through the purchase of a V-8 engine plastic kit for $106, Jake Hofflinger’s students at Great Bend High School can complete a unit on transportation, including the two- and four-stroke engines, watching videos and completing work sheets. Having a clear model would help students to visualize the moving parts.

Freshman Orientation Speaker — GBHS “Library Goddess” Emily Mulch didn’t name names, but said with a $250 grant she could get a speaker for the opening session of Freshman Orientation Day. “His dynamic, outgoing positive message will help students be excited about the special Freshman Orientation Day and also about GBHS,” Mulch said in her grant application.

Language Lab RTI Program — Language Lab is a response to the intervention program for grade K-4 students whose English language abilities are below grade-level standards, said Erin Hemphill in Special services. Among other processes, five learning stations are provided: Skill drill station, listen and learn station, talk aloud station, story station and homework connections station. Although the item is designed for K-4 students, it could be used with upper-gradelevel speech language students. This grant was for $300.

Lego Mindstorms EV3 — Three Special Services teachers in the gifted program, Lauren Turner, Tina Steinert and Martha Wondra, received a $1,438 grant that will allow students to enhance their science skills and more. The Lego Mindstorms EV3 kits has activities to get students involved in hands-on investigation of mechanical designs, small group cooperative skills and computer programming skills. Students could take their gained knowledge and compete in the Fort Hays State University robotics competition in the spring of the year.

Therapy Dog — A $1,000 grant submitted byAlyson Burkhart, Special Services, will support an ongoing project whereby special education would purchase a therapy dog through CARES Inc. of Concordia. A therapy dog would be utilized for students with developmental delays and autism. The animal would promote positive social interaction through utilization during the following activities: Social skills training, calming and self-regulation, facilitation of communication and reinforcement of appropriate behavior.