Teachers and students across the Valley and Florence are starting the school year with new tools to help them learn more about history and social science thanks to grants by SRP.
The history and social science grant program, which awarded more than $32,000 to 16 schools — including in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Florence, Tempe and Phoenix — provides an opportunity for schools and teachers to develop projects and programs that improve student performance in the interrelated disciplines of history, geography, civics, government and economics. Grants are up to $2,500 per school, according to a release.
To learn more about Salt River Project grants for teachers and get grant-writing tips, go to srpnet.com/education.
Below are the East Valley and Florence schools awarded for the 2019-20 school year:
- Elite Performance Academy Humphrey Campus, $600, for “Atlas System and Activities”: This school year, seventh and eighth grade students will have an opportunity to experience geography in a whole new way. SRP funding will be used to purchase atlases with incorporated activities such as the study of all areas and continents in the world according to their location, placement, region, human environment and movement. The goal is for students to familiarize themselves with the world around them.
- Nicholas Bird Elementary School, $2,500, for “It’s a Big World Out There!”: Grant funds are being used to purchase globes and write-and-wipe maps for students to use when they are learning specific geography concepts. When students return to campus, they can put a map on their desks while the teacher will have a large map for illustration of concepts. Teachers will also use new mapping centers during small-group instruction as well as informational text for teachers to use while reading out loud to their classes.
- Bridges Elementary School, $2,070, for “Ready, Set, Record! The World of Podcasts”: From book reviews to storytelling podcasts, fifth-grade students will soon create their own podcasts about various historical topics, which will include hosting audio tours, conducting classroom debates, sharing a current events newscast, publish presentations and develop storytelling skills. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own sense of voice — from researching to launching the podcast. Students will practice public-speaking skills, interviewing skills and communication skills. Funds allow teachers to purchase microphones, headphones, cameras and two computers with podcasting software.
- Gilbert Elementary School, $267, for “Where In The World Am I? ¿Dónde estoy?”: The project is designed to provide fifth- and sixth-grade students the opportunity to develop spatial thinking with maps. Spatial thinking is a unique way of discerning distance, direction, relationships, movement and change in space. Grant funds allow for the purchase of giant U.S. and world laminated maps that students will use to map out paths of travel. Ozobots will be coded to follow a path that students create to travel. Ozobots are coded by students in various ways. Students apply coding skills using classroom Chromebooks.
- Patterson Elementary School, $2,300, for “Learning History, Economics, Geography and Civic Life through Film Making”: Students can soon create public service announcements, news shows, “how to” videos, “snap shots” in history, state/country reports and mini documentaries, providing students with learning experiences that promote collaboration and choice. Students will learn to problem solve, think critically and creatively in a real world context. Fifth- and sixth-grade students will research multiple sources, summarize/argue/explain content, write scripts and present a final product using media in a highly engaging way to understand, reflect and review social studies content.
- Cambridge Academy East, $2,500, for “Community Garden”: Students will soon become green thumbs as they plant a garden, construct a greenhouse and tend, harvest and donate fresh vegetables to local community food banks. Students in fourth- through sixth-grade social studies classes will document the progress through a classroom blog. The goal is to provide a platform for civic engagement, connect community engagement and technology and to become aware of economic principles such as supply, scarcity and distribution, including food deserts. SRP grant funding will be used to purchase greenhouse materials and hands-on gardening supplies.
- Desert Ridge Junior High School, $2,500, for “Virtual Reality Field Trips”: Students will soon go on virtual-reality expeditions with kits and collect extensive data of countries around the world for student project assessments. Students will research various countries of their choice with the use of virtual reality kits. The VR technology will also be utilized with the United Nations simulation to help with data collection of UN issues and assist with solutions to global problems. VR technology also lends itself to planning cross-curricular units with science and math.
- Fremont Junior High School, $2,500, for “Chromebooks for Social Science”: The new rigorous state-mandated social studies’ standards emphasize the development of critical-thinking skills through inquiry-based lessons and units. To meet these standards and develop critical-thinking skills as well as essential college and career skills for students, grant funding will be used to purchase additional Chromebooks allowing seventh and eighth students access to an endless amount of primary source documents, online lessons and necessary tools to create a variety of products to demonstrate their knowledge.
- Jefferson Elementary School, $2,500, for “Third Grade Arizona Studies”: Third-grade students will learn about Arizona geography, history, economics and civics through a year-long intensive, engaging project-based curriculum. Grant funds will be used to purchase hands-on manipulatives, technology and reading resources to instruct English-as-a-Second-Language students. Parents involved in the school’s Family Literacy Program will also be positively impacted through the reading resources and many visual materials as they learn alongside their student.
- Kino Junior High School, $2,500, for “Bringing History to Life”: Eighth-grade students will critically analyze historical fiction in order to grasp the importance of historical events and time-periods throughout history. Students will engage in meaningful reading and learning about a historical event and segue into more complex primary- and secondary-sources to continue to learn significant facts and lasting details about those events. SRP grant funding will be used to provide class sets of six different novels relating to slavery, Japanese incarceration, the war in Afghanistan and the Holocaust.
- Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies, $2,422, for “The French Revolution in Literature and Roll of Thunder”: The new standards for seventh-grade social studies are oriented toward world history and grant funding will be used to purchase a classroom set of the young adult novel, “The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution.” The events of the novel touch on many relevant topics such as social injustice and popular revolution, which will be discussed in both social studies and language arts classes. Funding will also provide eighth-grade students a class set of “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” so that they may explore and better understand the post-slavery era plights in America before the civil rights movement.
- Mountain View High School, $2,500, for “Academy of Government and History”: The Academy of Government is designed to provide students with an advanced history and civic education as well as additional opportunities such as guest speakers, a field trip and civic engagement projects. The ongoing project extends the learning outside of the classroom and promotes active civic engagement designed to develop students into effective community participants. SRP grant funding will provide civic-engagement opportunities such as mock elections, guest speakers who have firsthand experience with major events in American history and the ability to participate in the Political History and Leadership program at ASU.
- Shepherd Junior High School, $2,368, for “Literacy Instruction in a Social Studies Classroom”: Educators will design student project-based learning and inquiry curriculum for seventh- and eighth-grade students using historical fiction literature to solve real-world problems. Grant funds will be used to purchase classroom sets of historical fiction novels for students to add value and improve literacy engagement within the new state social sciences standards. Through the use of this literature, students will develop a greater depth of knowledge about the importance of historical events in order to deepen their understanding of historical happenings during the American Revolution, and World Wars I and II. In addition to teaching the critical content, disciplinary skills and processes will be reinforced such as chronological reasoning, identifying multiple perspectives, interpreting and using evidence to support conclusions and analyzing cause and effect relationships in both fiction and nonfiction literature.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility that provides electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than one million customers. SRP is a raw-water supplier in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, delivering about 800,000 acre-feet of water annually to agricultural, urban and municipal water users, the release states.