2017 STEM Grant Recipients & Projects

MISF awarded STEM Grants totaling more than $127,000 to 31 MISF member schools for projects to be implemented during the 2017-18 school year. Following is a list of the Innovation, Starter, and Sustainability Grant awardees and their projects.

STEM Innovation Grants

Academy of Whole Learning

Annunciation Catholic School

Benilde-St. Margaret’s

Bethany Academy

Cotter Schools

Frassati Catholic Academy

Holy Spirit School

Maranatha Christian Academy

Nativity of Our Lord

New Ulm Area Catholic Schools

Pacelli Catholic Schools

St. Agnes School

St. Alphonsus Catholic School

St. John the Baptist Catholic School

St. Joseph’s School

St. Michael’s Catholic School

West Lutheran High School, King of Grace Lutheran School, St. John’s Lutheran School


STEM Starter Grants

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School-Twin Cities

DeLaSalle High School

Holy Name of Jesus School

Nativity of Mary Catholic School

Presentation of Mary

St. Anne’s School

St. Joseph’s School

Sts. Peter and Paul School

Trinity Lutheran School


STEM Sustainability Grants

Heritage Christian Academy

Maranatha Christian Academy

Most Holy Redeemer School

St. Joseph’s School

St. Mary’s School


STEM Innovation Grants

Academy of Whole Learning, St. Louis Park
Title:   Physical Science STEM
Grades:  K-12

Students will use physical science concepts to solve problems and answer questions. Throughout the year, students will develop their own essential questions based on their individual projects. In order to help students develop the necessary skills in physical science, students will first participate in mini-labs to teach the key concepts including energy, matter, motion and stability, and waves. Each activity is scaffolded to meet the needs of our individual learners. The students will then engage in a project problem, which will allow students to test and explain the various concepts of physical science. The students will use the scientific method to engage in hands-on learning projects. Students will be able to explain and present their findings through the use of technology, depending on the level of our students. The students will then apply the physical science topics that they have learned to a science fair project that they will design and present to parents and our community members in the spring.

Students will explore the topic of energy by looking at the cause and effect of sunlight, energy of objects in motion, changes in energy when objects interact, and how energy converts from one form to another. Students will build their understanding of matter by exploring its structure and properties, chemical reactions, and nuclear processes. Students will learn about waves by describing its patterns, predict characteristic properties and behaviors of waves and gain an understanding of how interactions of electromagnetic radiation can transfer information. Students will explore the science of motion and stability through pushes and pulls, unbalanced and balanced forces, mass, magnets, and electric currents. When learning these topics, students will also learn and practice the process of planning and conducting investigations, analyzing data, making observations, asking questions, and using mathematical representations.

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Annunciation Catholic School, Minneapolis
Title:      Mobile STEM Cart
Grades:    K-8 (with 6-8 emphasis)

This grant would allow us to create a mobile STEM cart and implement STEM activities throughout all grades. Our primary focus on STEM integration will be in the middle school. The materials would include coding materials, robots, simple machines kit, virtual reality goggles and curriculum to go along with the materials. The coding materials would help us implement coding activities in math in the middle school to integrate technology as they learn the algebra standards. The STEM materials fit well with our methods of teaching and learning as inquiry becomes woven throughout our curriculum through our IB implementation. The materials will be used at many different grades levels for new curriculum as well as supplement the curriculum already in place. The middle school curriculum currently includes a Dimensions program for selected students to participate in STEM activities and this would help us expand those activities for all students in the middle school and similar activities for those students in the elementary school. In the Dimensions program as well as the elementary IB units, students will use hands on activities to understand real world situations, make connections to other subject areas, think critically about solutions to problems and take action using these solutions. Students are and will be encouraged to pursue STEM careers and use their knowledge to make the world around them a better and more peaceful place. The grant will also be used to host an STEM night where students and families could experience STEM together.

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Benilde-St. Margaret’s, St. Louis Park
Title:   Permaculture Food Forest
Grades:  7-12

Benilde-St. Margaret’s proposes to have students design, build, monitor, and maintain a Permaculture Food Forest Garden. This garden will include species of trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables that symbiotically work together for maximum sustainability and efficiency. This approach has recently gained importance as the world attempts to feed a growing population and simultaneously create an environmentally sustainable future. Students will learn about sustainable ecosystem design before personally picking up the shovels and rakes to build the food forest.

Students will also be engaged in monitoring the health of the food forest over the coming years through data collection and analysis.

There are several core disciplines that will be incorporated from both the STEM and non-STEM fields. Student learning in the Permaculture Forest Garden will include the following:
• Science: plant cycles, food web analysis, symbiosis, water quality analysis, soil analysis
• Math: statistics, geographic plotting, graphical analysis of variables over time
• Engineering: designing the most efficient whole systems design (e.g. plant placement for optimal canopy design, and land grading for water flow and retention)
• Technology: keeping track of metrics related to the health of the garden (water testing, soil testing with vernier probes), designing videos/websites/social media to educate the community about the process and importance of food issues.
• Social Studies: food security issues, indigenous environments, food & water politics
• Art: inspirational space for outdoor art production, nature-based design principles
• Religion: social justice issues related to food and water
• English: journaling based on the issues, literature that aligns with food issues
• Life Class (a class that every 7th grader takes that spans topics from self-awareness to global perspectives): learning a sense of our place in the world and the environment through the study of food, understanding the origins of how we survive and thrive in the world

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Bethany Academy, Bloomington
Title:   Introducing the Engineering Design Process Using Mathematical Modeling and Computer Design with 3-D Printer Technology in Classroom Settings
Grades:  7-12

Throughout our science and math textbooks examples that illustrate the application of basic math skills are given to motivate students to get past basic skills development and pursue exciting and rewarding careers in various STEM fields. This proposal seeks to extend textbook descriptions of the application of math and science to projects that students can build, design and test in the classroom by coupling mathematical modeling and computer design with new low-cost 3-D printer technology.

The primary project initially will be to model and print honeybee hexagonal cells as part of a pre-calculus review. This project is designed in greater detail below.

In 7th grade math we currently construct paper 3-d models of the 5 basic platonic solids. We also learn formulas for surface area and volume of simple 3-D solids. Adding a 3-D printer will allow us to demonstrate the process of using the math dimensions of the platonic solids to generate a computer model and then print a physical model of the solids. Students will learn how to create physical models from mathematical models and will be encouraged to explore new designs.

In 8th grade math we complete a project using piecewise linear equations to create a design on graph paper. A few students have explored doing this project in the DESMOS graphing software package as well. A 3-D printer will extend this modeling project to a physical model that students would design first using linear functions and then input into a computer design which extrudes the 2-D model to 1 3-D model and then print their model.

As part of our science curriculum our students use LEGO robots to learn basic programming skills. They construct parts for obstacle courses and for the robots as part of annual competitions and projects. We plan to use the 3-D printer technology as a resource for these projects by learning to use mathematical and computer modeling to design and print their designed parts.

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Cotter Schools, Winona
Title:   PLTW: Initiate Principles of Engineering, Design & Coding
Grades:  7-12

Our project is to expand our STEM curriculum by developing an Introduction to Engineering course for high school students and an Introduction to Coding and Design and Automation and Robotics courses for junior high students. Within these courses, students would begin by learning problem-solving strategies, and demonstrate their learning by completing basic projects such as designing and testing gear, pulley and sprocket systems or creating a puzzle cube. Students would then advance their application to analyzing real world problems such as developing a syrup dispenser that does not drip, a high efficiency solar vehicle, a prototype for a new toy, or a lights and siren component for police bicycles. Once students have identified problems in their environment, using the scientific method and the engineering design process, students would work in small teams to solve them.

Students would engage in all elements of STEM as well as incorporate elements from the English, Social Studies and Arts disciplines. Students would be required to research, collaborate with peers, evaluate solutions through testing, write reports, revise and retest, present their findings publicly, as well as utilize skills like persistence, inquiry, communication, and critical thinking. To complete these projects successfully, students will be need to use a variety of tools, materials, and CAD software as well. While this immediate project is the implementation of two new courses, the overall goal is to develop a line of engineering and design courses that intentionally encourage students to be problem-solvers, to transfer skills between content disciplines, and to grow their necessary critical thinking skills so that they can be positive, productive members of their communities and in many cases, pursue additional education in the STEM fields.

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Frassati Catholic Academy, White Bear Lake
Title:   Memory Boy and the Energy Efficient Vehicle Challenge
Grades:  6 & 7

Frassati Catholic Academy is the first STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Math) school in Minnesota. Starting in 2014, integrated curriculum is constantly created, improved, and tested. One project that we would like to develop with the 6-7 grade students connects the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Literature and Social Studies. This is a literacy-based, engineering challenge based on a novel the students will read in class. Well-known author Will Weaver wrote a book titled Memory Boy. Described as being “post-apocalyptic”, the book shares a story about a family affected by several worldwide issues such as climate change, violence in cities, and the aftermath of a real historical events. The character and his family move to a place where survival depends on the very skill we would like our students to have – intuitive decision making, creativity, application of ideas, problem solving and more. The interdisciplinary approach and project based learning allows each teacher working with these students in this unit, an opportunity to have discussion about the science of climate change, current events, engineering, math, and more making direct comparison to the story and life today.

Using the engineering design process, each student will have a chance to create non-fossil fuel model vehicle, like the main character did in Memory Boy. This project based learning opportunity will allow students be informed on and share many ideas and concepts including, but not limited to, wind power, solar energy, magnetic pull and more. Students will be able to learn about data comparison on global climates and how this data is affected various world wide human behaviors, cultural ideas about climate change and how they force us to problem solve and create solutions. This type of project includes direct application of design and math while creating a model vehicle using a variety of materials and technology.

The engineered project will be presented to audiences in our community during open houses, Catholic Schools week events and be on display in our building front entry for the public to see. There are local stores and businesses where donations from them will be used to help create the solar/wind/electric powered vehicles.

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Holy Spirit School, St. Paul
Title:   The Mary Library Co-Laboratory
Grades:  K-8

Our primary purpose is to create a Collaborative Learning Space in our Media Center where our K-8 students can apply STEM principles to Project Based Learning scenarios. This Co-Laboratory would provide students with an active learning experience that will lead to their understanding of how STEM applies to daily life. As we look toward our students’ futures we understand the need to provide a Future Ready Library/Media Center. We intend to make an Interdisciplinary connection between STEM and literacy.

Students will use what they learn in their Information Literacy Course along with the principles of creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking to design and development projects that incorporate engineering, measurement, and coding. Students will have the opportunity to actively work in teams to complete projects that are presented to them through an Understanding by Design model. Activities will be student led, and will center on student exploration, and self-guidance. Students will become more invested in their own learning, and will be able to gain the confidence necessary to become critical thinkers. Ultimately, students will make real world connections with the projects they have created, and see how their acquired skills could help make a difference.

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Maranatha Christian Academy, Brooklyn Park
Title:   Elementary MakerSpace
Grades:  K-5

We are implementing a MakerSpace into our Lower School Learning Commons to enable more hands-on creating and problem solving. Keva and Magformers are products that introduce students to the problem solving process through mechanical and architectural engineering. Cubelets are highly customizable, programmable blocks that provide a hands-on learning experience for students as they introduce them to the design process through computer science and programming. Our grant is requesting sets of these products for our Lower School Learning Commons, which is our redesigned library space that includes a new MakerSpace. We believe these products are equally attractive to boys and girls. Students will be encouraged to explore, design, build, and fail using these products.

We envision whole classes coming into our Learning Commons. The space will be renovated into a MakerSpace this summer and will be more conducive to designing and creating. Each grade level classroom will be scheduled into our Learning Commons for 45 minutes one to two times each week to participate in a variety of stations, of which Keva, Magformers, and Cubelets will be a part.

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Nativity of Our Lord, St. Paul
Title:   Mobile Carts for the Creative Learning Lab
Grades:  K-8

Nativity of Our Lord seeks an Innovation Grant to expand our new Creative Learning Lab initiative. Our Creative Learning Lab teachers use STEAM tools and tactics to help K-8 students focus on how to be respectful collaborators, how to problem solve and trouble shoot with perseverance, and how to emphasize real world impact and opportunity. Our Creative Learning Lab’s team of 11 educators will work in partnership with Haldeman Homme, our Creative Learning Lab Collective, and the Science Museum of Minnesota to develop six mobile STEAM carts to foster a dynamic learning environment in our K-8 program that benefits all students. Teachers and students will have the opportunity to have hands on, project based learning in the classroom with six mobile carts that can be tailored for grade appropriate and standards-based learning.

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New Ulm Area Catholic Schools, New Ulm
Title:   VEX Robotics Class
Grades:  9-12

“Computational thinking is a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science. To flourish in today’s world, computational thinking has to be a fundamental part of the way people think and understand the world.” (Carnegie Mellon Center for Computational Thinking)

Building, programming, powering, and maneuvering robots to turn, lift, grab, toss, and spin—all for the ultimate goal of competing against other robots—develops deeper thinking skills. Robotics teaches through trial and error; using computational thinking, students apply their growing knowledge step by step.

We have chosen the VEX Robotics program as the best fit for our high school. The VEX curriculum is already developed and covers so many common core and Minnesota state science, math, technology, and English standards that we could not list them in 300 words. Our application refers to no fewer than four standards in every one of the STEM content areas.

During this class, we hope to have the opportunity to see robots in the workplace by visiting local manufacturing plants and having engineers come into our classroom. Students will exchange ideas with professionals who actually build and/or use robots.

Finally, students will build confidence in dealing with complexity, build persistence in working with challenging problems, and develop the ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal – a well-designed robot.

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Pacelli Catholic Schools, Austin
Title:   Project Alpha
Grades:  9-12

Pacelli High School’s science, math, and social studies teachers will create a collaborative unit on the designing, manufacturing, and economics of production. Areas that will be covered would include engineering and CAD, cost analysis, and marketing. This project will allow students to explore career opportunities in the engineering field, and its real-world applications. High School students will share their projects and experiences with our middle and elementary students during a special hands-on activity event that will highlight STEM opportunities at Pacelli.

The sharing of projects with the more junior classes in our school will also allow high school students to debut their projects and gauge interest in potential sales. A successful unit would culminate with a presentation entailing details about the planning, design, and implementation of their product, as well as commentary about the successes and failures experienced throughout the project. Our goal is that student-generated revenue from their projects will help fund future projects.

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St. Agnes School, St. Paul
Title:   Implementation of Fundamentals in Engineering Class
Grades:  11-12

Our proposed project includes implementation of a full-year Fundamentals of Engineering class that will be offered as a science elective for juniors and seniors. This grant proposal is specifically directed to funds for completing curriculum development and the purchase of durable equipment that will be used in the first and subsequent years. The durable equipment that will be purchased is an integral part of the curriculum as detailed below and is essential to the hands-on experience of engineering at the late high school level. Further, all equipment will be available for use by engineering club members after school and will potentially be shared with lower grade teachers (K-12) for demonstration purposes as they bring STEM projects into their classrooms. The course is project based. However, students will utilize Kosky et al., “Exploring Engineering” as a primary reference for coursework. Current defined units, each including a project utilizing the equipment to be purchased with grant proceeds, include:
1. Understanding the Built Environment in Our Lives and the Role of the Engineer: ASE Motors and Gears
2. Engineering Analysis and the Engineering Design Process: 3D Drawing/SolidWorks/3D Printing
3. Civil Engineering: Shaker Table and Load Testers for Structural Designs.
4. Electrical Engineering and Programming: Arduino Based Devices/Robotics and Programming.
5. Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering: Additive Manufacturing, Vacuum Molding, Mechanical Movement through Gears, Motors, Shafts and Pivot Arms
6. Chemical and Materials Engineering: Engineering Material with Selected Properties
7. Biochemical and Biomechanical Engineering: Medical Device or Implant Related Project
8. Design Team Project from a Student Selected Field: Any of the Equipment

The remodeling of space to create the 1000 square foot engineering space will be complete in the summer of 2017 along with purchase of all furnishings. Completion of the curriculum details and purchase of durable equipment will finish the project.

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St.Alphonsus Catholic School, Brooklyn Center
Title:   Maker Lab and Project Center
Grades:  K-8

Our initial plan is that we would like to create, build and stock a “Maker” classroom for all of the grade levels to access for STEM activities. This classroom would include but is not limited to: Legos, simple machines, circuits, gears, wires, 3D printers and so much more. Currently our students engage in math, science and technology courses. Teachers implement STEM standards into their curriculum as they feel comfortable. I have 3 teachers applying for STEM certification through Notre Dame and if accepted will start this summer. I also have had 2 teachers who were participants in the 3M TWIST Program, which has been very beneficial to their curriculum development in the engineering standards. Using this resource room will better their teaching as well as all students’ learning. Without becoming an official STEM school, we want to be sure our students are on equal if not better playing fields than others when they go off to high school and above in science, technology, engineering and math.

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St. John the Baptist Catholic School, Savage
Title:   STEM Assembly Line
Grades:  8

We intend to build a unique 8th grade curricular project such that the students develop a working manufacturing line, based on a real world model, using enhanced versions of our Lego Mindstorm robotic kits. Our primary focus would be to allow small 8th grade student groups to create unique stand-alone units (review/grow from 7th grade), which will be placed together, as support for each other, for a final assembly task, a simulated robotic arm assembly line. Students would their single unit to adapt it to a team application, having them rely on group support, reworking, trial and error, leading to evaluation of their success /failure. Students will need to evaluate and present potential assembly issues taking into account controls and variables from simple to complex. Such instances as available number of components, what will the final and initial products look like, and what will the line need to be in dimension, as well as, how will the motors interact with each other? They will most assuredly have to rely on all of the four components of STEM. The students will work as an initial large group to determine what they will be creating out of a 3 choice option presented to them, which we anticipate will be, color change, small component assembly, or component sorting. They will then break into small teams to develop their unique portion of the assembly production, and then work with other small teams to design the full production. We will base a great deal of their initial research on the information we find on the multitudes of assembly lines.

We need to allow our younger generation to try, fail, try again, and succeed so that it doesn’t frighten them to do so in the working world!

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St. Joseph’s School, West St. Paul
Title:   K-5 Makerspace Expansion
Grades:  K-5

St. Joseph’s School is applying for an MISF Innovation Grant so that our students in grades K-5 can use the makerspace and expand their knowledge of STEAM. Our goal for the end of the project is to have our younger student body gain a strong interest and passion for computer science. In our makerspace, students will be learning how to code using a variety of online tools and robots. As well as, learning more about electricity, problem solving, teamwork, and how to use the engineering design process. St. Joseph’s School feels it is important for all of our students to have this opportunity because it will teach them real-world experiences in the STEAM field in a hands-on, student-based learning environment.

We will use this STEM Grant to fund the need for robots and Little Bits to differentiate among the elementary grade levels.

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St. Michael’s Catholic School, Prior Lake
Title:   Robotics in the Classroom
Grades:  1-3

St. Michael Catholic School has offered a successful extra-curricular robotics program for the past seven years. If we are awarded the Innovation Grant, we will use the funds to begin the important process of integrating the basics of robotics in to the classroom to the benefit of all of our students.

St. Michael’s robotics teams are affiliated with For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics. Seven years ago, we began by offering our eighth-grade students the opportunity to participate at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) level. We have since expanded our program to younger and younger students each year. Our first team consisted of 7 eighth-grade students. This past year, we had 59 students from grades 1-8 participating in FTC, FIRST Lego League, and FIRST Lego League Jr. As we have grown, we have continuously sought out opportunities for synergies between the extra-curricular program and the classroom. These efforts have included: reinforcing current math and science classroom concepts through the applied math and science of designing building robots, classroom teachers presenting students with opportunities to help the robotics teams solve specific elements of their challenge, and providing classroom and school-wide demonstrations to inspire students and to illustrate real-world applications of science and technology. We believe that the next logical step in this extra-curricular/classroom relationship is to integrate robotics into the school curriculum.

Grant funds would be used to purchase LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 Curriculum Packs, appropriate site licenses, and sufficient supporting materials to introduce robotics to all students in grades 1-3. Students would complete the curriculum and demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency at a locally-hosted exposition.

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West Lutheran High School, Plymouth
King of Grace Lutheran School, Golden Valley,
St. John’s Lutheran School, Corcoran
Title:   Creating a Collaborative Camp
Grades:  10-12

Our area private high school association faces a challenge when coordinating curricula. Unlike most K-12 private school systems, the West Lutheran Association is made of separate entities whose faculty cannot easily rub elbows, exchange ideas, and go about the job of developing a coordinated STEM curriculum. This innovative grant request is seeking a way to give the separate grade schools and high school science teams a chance to collaborate and develop a joint STEM program as a summer camp.

The three applicant MISF schools are seeking to develop a collaborative program that would act as a bridge connecting both the students and staff of the separate schools.

Our proposal in brief:
• Week-long camp for students entering 6-8th grade
• Community involvement via local engineering-based businesses in the form of guest presenters and field trips to see CAD and robotics used in R&D
• Career interest cultivated by the above mentioned activity
• Engineering design and prototyping principles developed by the student use of CAD to design 3D printed projects
• Electronics, Tinkering and Code Writing skills will be developed when students each build and program a simple bot.
Leadership and mentoring skills will be strengthened in the high school students that are counselors during the sessions.

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STEM Starter Grants

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School-Twin Cities, Minneapolis
Title:   Taking Action on Climate Change
Grades:  9-12

This past fall, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School students and teachers started working with the Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN) to become educated and act on the challenges associated with climate change by starting our own chapter of “Ignatian Carbon Challenge” (ICC). We hope to expand the number and complexity of the projects next year.

Students will complete a series of projects (either pre-determined by ISN or designed and agreed to by the group throughout the year) that act on challenges associated with climate change. This includes taking products from our waste stream and turning them into viable, useful objects, such as:
• making solar phone chargers using discarded mint tins and spare electronic parts
• making reusable lunch bags from discarded drink pouches
• making plastic lumber from discarded plastic bags

And:
• supplying local urban farms with our school’s food waste
• collaborating with our school Nutrition Manager to launch a school composting initiative and education around its importance
• additional ideas brainstormed during summer 2017

Generally, the club’s projects have developed an Engineering focus, but each requires scientific, technological and mathematical concepts to complete. Students gain an understanding of human impacts on the earth, and the causes and effects of climate change.

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DeLaSalle High School, Minneapolis
Title:   Innovation with 3D Printing
Grades:  9-12

At DeLaSalle, we want our students to have opportunities to be innovative and creative by using 21st century technology. Our plan is to use the MISF grant to purchase a 3D Printer. This technology is a practical way of incorporating STEAM into our classrooms. Our vision is to find ways that all subject matters can incorporate 3D modeling and the design process into their curriculum in practical and real-world ways. The 3D printer will provide platform for innovation, abstract thinking, and prototyping. Students will use CAD software to draft, measure, and illustrate their ideas. Our students will be able to create, iterate, and manage projects in ways where they are motivated and actively invested in designing good products. Specifically, our music students can design and build their own instruments, our biology students can design anatomical parts, our theology students can study their faith in an artistic way to make religious artifacts, and our history students can build topological maps of a battlefield or reconstruct historical buildings. The 3D printer will help our school use project-based learning to enrich our curriculum in practical and innovative ways.

The 3D printer will be used to teach concepts in a more engaging and kinesthetic way. As teachers, we are developing lesson plans that will intrinsically motivate students to want to learn more by changing the way in which we are teaching. We want the lessons to be student-driven projects that address all areas of STEM and better develop a “college-ready” skill set. Our goal is to develop lesson plans where students are using higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy (synthesis, application, and evaluation).

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Holy Name of Jesus School, Wayzata
Title:   Coding and Robotics Start Up
Grades:  K-6

As part of both the technology curriculum and STEM lab, students will be using a variety Coding and Robotics tools to expand their knowledge of computer science. Students have been exposed to coding using Hour of Code in December and Code.org, Scratch and Kodable. This grant will allow us to establish an inventory of hands on tools and expand our STEM program. A focus will be placed on problem based learning with small teams of students. This team approach will allow students to work through stations either coding or creating using Little Bits and Cubelets, Code.org and Scratch. In addition, we envision expanding our current after school coding club and stem programs to allow for more time for students to expand their coding and engineering skills.
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Nativity of Mary Catholic School, Bloomington
Title:   Makerspace in Grades 1-3: Inspire and Imagine
Grades:  1-3

The Nativity of Mary Makerspace has been a dream for Nativity of Mary Catholic School for several years. We launched an initial Makerspace for our students in the fall of 2016. The goal of this grant is to provide our elementary school students (Grades 1-3) with enriched learning experiences through the use of our Makerspace. Using a hands-on approach, Makerspaces are learning environments built to enable students and community members to collaboratively use various tools, technologies and materials to innovate, invent, engineer and creatively problem solve real life situations. The philosophy of the Nativity of Mary Makerspace is that if you can imagine it, you can make it. This program provides a flexible, differentiated learning environment where active engagement occurs. The Nativity of Mary Makerspace allows a student to be inspired and view themselves as both a creative thinker and as a problem solver.

Through this Starter Grant, we want to incorporate several STEM stations for our students in grades 1-3, including, but not limited to Legos, Osmo, Bloxels, Dash, and more curriculum to enhance our Makerspace. All of these stations meet either Minnesota State Standards in Science and/or ISTE technology standards. The learning that occurs through these Makerspace stations will then be continued in the classroom through our own curriculum and reflection by the students.

The students at Nativity of Mary have connections to the greater community. Through our Makerspace, we plan to work both internally and externally with our community. Within our own community, we envision our students working both at their own grade level in the Makerspace, but also with their “PALS” groups (our younger/older grade level buddies). With our outside community, we plan to work with our senior buddies at Summerhouse (the local senior living community) on several engineering projects.

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Presentation of Mary, Maplewood
Title:   Lego Lab
Grades:  K-8

An area of focus that our school has decided to focus on over the last few years is STEM. We understand the value that an education rich in science, technology, engineering and math provides our students and would like to keep expanding the number of opportunities our students receive in these areas. Presentation of Mary serves a diverse body of students, many of who are who are under-represented in STEM fields. We would like to ensure that our student population is afforded opportunities at Presentation that they might not otherwise be exposed to.

The Lego Lab would offer a hands-on experience for the students. The solutions they would discover in the lab would ignite their natural desire to explore and discover. Students will learn subjects like language, math, science, technology, and engineering more effectively while improving and developing their 21st-century skills, like problem solving, collaboration and communication.

This starter grant would allow us to purchase age appropriate Lego kits which can be used year after year to provide engaging, hands-on STEM experiences. The learning that would take place in the Lego Lab would go beyond those walls and seep into all the curriculum areas our students experience in a day.

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St. Anne’s School, LeSueur
Title:   Materials to Begin STEM in Grades 4 & 5
Grades:  4 & 5

We are in need of science curriculum revision and would like to begin a STEM program. Eventually we would like our teacher to go through the full training but to begin we will begin with 2 kits. The two kits are Building Blocks of Science: Changing Earth and Matter and Energy in Ecosystems. In the first kit changing earth the students will identify patterns in rocks, analyze and compare data and plan and carry out investigations. In the second kit on matter and energy they will develop a model to describe movement. Organize matter and energy flows and analyze and interpret data.
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St. Joseph’s School, Grand Rapids
Title:   Lego Robotics
Grades:  5 and 6

We would like to procure a STEM grant to purchase a starter Robotics kit for grades 5 and 6. We introduced the 5th grade class to robots by teaching them a lesson learned from the MISF workshops (Solo Cup/ markers robots). We then moved onto Bee Bots as the next step and now I would like to introduce the students to Lego Robotics.

The Robotics technology activities will incorporate math lessons involving measuring distance and angles, using data graphs and developing coordinates. The students will learn through investigation along with developing a sense of learning what the robot may be used for in the future. I will encourage individual discovery along with group projects.

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Sts. Peter and Paul School, Richmond
Title:   Four Raised Garden Beds
Grades:  K-5

Our project is for four raised garden beds. Students will work with teachers, parents and community members to research, plan, build, plant and harvest crops from the garden. During the late winter and early spring, the students will research materials needed for beds, types of soil conducive for garden beds, various types of mulch, types of seeds/plants that work well in garden beds and the optimal planting times.

In the spring of the year, the students will work with teachers, volunteer parents and community members to build beds and plant crops. During our summer school program, the students will weed & water garden, record the effectiveness of mulch, record rain amounts, harvest crops and determine ways to use crops in summer school food program.

In mid-August, the summer school students will reseed the garden with plants that are conducive to a second growing season. When all students return in September, they will again be responsible for weeding, watering, harvesting the crops and determining ways to use crops in the regular school food program.

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Trinity Lutheran School, Janesville
Title:   Lego Education STEM Project
Grades:  K-8

We, at Trinity Lutheran School, want to promote 21st century skills in our classrooms through the use of STEM projects. Our long-term goal is to provide our students with the opportunity to have access to a School Makerspace where students can use materials to creatively solve problems or challenges as in Rube Goldberg Machines. Our first step to realizing this goal is to introduce the idea of STEM projects or challenges to our students and faculty using Lego Education Kits. These Lego Education Kits will introduce our students to the skills that they will need to successfully complete STEM challenges and will provide lesson plans to support faculty in providing hands on learning in the classroom.

Lego Education Kits will be used to develop problem solving, communication, and collaboration within the classroom, while providing hands on learning opportunities which enable students to grasp abstract concepts.

Our school will involve the community and its resources by asking for parent volunteers to assist with STEM Projects within the classroom, by bringing in community volunteers to share about STEM careers, and by having 8th grade students shadow, research, and report on community businesses which use STEM.

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STEM Sustainability Grants

Heritage Christian Academy, Maple Grove
Title:   Exploring Engineering
Grades:  K-5

Heritage Christian Academy is seeking funds to sustain the efforts made through the implementation of the MISF Innovation STEM grant. In an effort to make tuition as affordable as possible, Heritage charges families $1,800 less per child than what it actually costs to educate each student. This tuition gap, coupled with tuition assistance, allows lower income families the opportunity to enroll their children. Heritage is prudent in spending and allocating dollars to continue to improve curriculum and programs, but leaders continue to take steps to secure funds through grants. It is the hope of the school to purchase refill packs for the EiE engineering kits that were purchased last year in 2016. This will provided continued opportunities for students to experience the process of engineering and design.

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Maranatha Christian School, Brooklyn Park
Title:   Sustaining the Greenhouse
Grades:  K-12

MISF awarded our school a grant several years ago to build the greenhouse and use it for hands-on instruction. The grant recipient successfully integrated greenhouse activities into the upper school science curriculum, but then that person left MCA and the greenhouse fell into disuse.

The school and church have come to the conclusion that the greenhouse needed a new location. It was moved to the end of our building near the playground (approximately .25 miles) Due to this move, we now need a new watering system. In order to sustain any plant growth in the greenhouse’s new location we will need 2 rain barrels with a proper gutter system. Also, the greenhouse would benefit from a large compost container and smaller compost buckets to carry compostable materials to its location each day. We have acquired a small garden shed to help store supplies and are in need of shelves to organize it.

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Most Holy Redeemer, Montgomery
Title:   Discovering Robotics
Grades:  5-8

In an effort to incorporate further robotics projects into the Holy Redeemer School STEM and Computer Science curriculum, the school is seeking funds to purchase LEGO MINDSTORMS EDUCATION EV3 CORE SETS designed to develop robotics skills. Students will use the new robotic teaching materials in a maker space currently being developed at the school.

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St. Joseph School, West St. Paul
Title:   SJS Makerspace
Grades:  6-8

To keep our makerspace running effectively and efficiently for next year’s middle school students, we need additional funds to buy supplies that we ran out of this year. We need funds to buy filament, replacement nozzles and print plates for our 3D printer, vinyl paper and replacement blades/mats for our vinyl cutters, along with more carpentry tools such as power drills and measuring tapes.

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St. Mary’s School, Owatonna
Title:  Makerspace Sustainability
Grades:  K-8

Additional resources will sustain a portion of our project that “snuck up on us” while implementing curriculum developed for our Innovation Grant: Makerspace utilization. One of our STREAM classes meets in the newly created Makerspace, which allows students to experiment with materials as we work through our curriculum. Very quickly it became a place students wanted to be, and materials we use in our Innovation Grant curriculum helped create excitement and creativity in another group project that grew organically from exposure to materials funded by MISF. The Makerspace also became a bit of a materials library as another grade level working on their STEAM project periodically “checked out” materials to use in their classrooms.

We would like to expand our Makerspace materials for use in our after-school program, and as options for classrooms, other than those involved in the yearly STEAM classes, to use throughout the school day. Additional resources will also help sustain the littleBits electronic bits library as some of the pieces need replacement, and new pieces have been created since our original purchase.

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