By Jaimie Graham
Associated Chaffey teachers Jaimie Graham & Karen Montoya
Jaimie Graham teaches science at Ontario High School in Ontario, San Bernardino County. She received an NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grant. Here’s her story:
We are always trying to improve the laboratory investigations for our students. It is extremely important to have students experience hands-on laboratory investigations and demonstrate a skill or concept they have learned about in class. Labs are a way for teachers to assess student learning and reteach, if necessary. Students are engaged, excited, willing to participate and work together as a team to do their best during labs.
We decided to write this grant to expand our laboratory program. The grant funds were used to purchase electronic balances for our Chemistry/AP Chemistry classes and two analytical balances for our AP Chemistry classes.
Electronic balances are necessary for almost every chemistry laboratory activity. Most labs begin with students required to determine the mass of a substance. Analytical balances are very expensive and provide a level of accuracy and precision superior to regular electronic balances. The analytical balances allow our AP Chemistry class to experience college-level laboratory investigations and prepare for the AP examination.
Writing grants isn’t as intimidating as you’d think
The NEA grant application process is very straightforward and can be completed with ease. I have found that writing grants may seem intimidating at first. I was always worried about my ability to write, especially being a chemistry major who avoided English classes.
If you are passionate about a project in your class that will improve the education of many students, it seems to translate in your writing. There are many grants available, especially for the sciences. If you have a project in mind and the time to fill out many grant applications, put yourself out there. You might be surprised.