(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Manila seventh and eighth grade science students will be enjoying hands-on science kits and equipment thanks to the efforts of two of their teachers, Garry Jolliff and Steven Milligan.
Jolliff received two grants, one each for seventh and eighth grades ($500 each), and Milligan received a $500 grant for his seventh grade students.
The teachers attended a two week teacher training workshop qualifying them to apply for the mini-grants through the Mississippi County Community Foundation. The Foundation awarded 31 $500 grants to teachers in Blytheville, Gosnell, Armorel, Osceola, Manila and Wilson. Grants are to be used to purchase science kits or consumables for enhancing the science curriculum in middle level classrooms.
Jolliff said the training workshop is a five year ongoing program.
"Through the program, we will be able to apply for additional mini-grants in the coming years," Jolliff said.
Jolliff said researchers have found hands-on learning is a very effective approach to motivate and stimulate students.
The Arkansas Community Foundation and Arkansas Science and Technology Authority have received funding from the Winthrop Rockefeller foundation to implement this innovative grant-making approach to enhance science programs at the middle school level.
Science teachers in grades 5-8 were eligible to apply last spring. Their application had to include the applicant's training in science, the benefit of this award to the classroom and the number of students served by the project, exactly what materials would be purchased with a detailed budget, the specific goals and objectives including the Arkansas frameworks that apply, a description of the program and how it will meet the learning needs of the students, a description of the activities, a schedule of how the project will be structured throughout the school year, and an evaluation process for the activities and overall student attitude towards science.
Both Milligan and Jolliff were pleased for their students.
Jolliff said the junior high will be moving into a new building soon and the fifth through eighth grades will become a middle school concept.
"We tried to choose items that could be utilized by all science teachers in the middle school level," Jolliff said.
Among the items to be purchased with the mini-grants are water kits and refills to test water; a tester for blood type and RH factors; force and motion kits, blood pressure cup, and tools for teaching the parts of the inner and outer ear.