A grant of nearly $12,000 from the Northwest North Dakota Community Foundation’s Equinor North Dakota Charitable Fund will pay to train teachers how to better teach science, technology, engineering and math.

The grant of $11,865.70 will go toward STEM professional development for District 1 curriculum team leaders and getting STEM kits for each elementary school. The grant proposal, submitted by Victoria Arneson, curriculum director for District 1, will help teachers incorporate new activities, including robotics and coding, into elementary classes. Here are three things to know about the grant.

1 Program designed to support STEM education

The fellowship program from Equinor is meant to expand STEM education in the region. Educators from Williams, McKenzie and Mountrail counties are eligible and the grants typically range between $5,000 and $7,000 but could be as much as $15,000 for a one-year fellowship.

The program’s requirements are open enough that applicants can either design their own fellowship or take part in existing training.

“Equinor’s STEM Education Fellowship may be utilized for virtually any STEM-related professional development, including extant courses or self-designed study, so long as the outcome benefits STEM education in the region and results in enhanced learning environments for educators, their students, and their school communities,” the description of the fellowship reads.

2 New grant focused on elementary students

Arneson told the Williston Herald that because there were already STEM efforts at the middle school and high school levels, she wanted to see what could be available for elementary students.

“My proposal was to get some STEM training for all our elementary teachers,” Arneson said.

Much of the focus for STEM education is on grades five and up, but Arneson said she knows that students in all grades use technology.

“They are just amazing, the things they can do,” Arneson said.

3 Teachers will get training, students will get new curriculum

Part of the grant will pay for training and curriculum using a variety of educational products like Sphero Mini Education Kits, Sphero Bolts, Sphero Code Mats, Sphero RVR Multipacks, and Sphero Training.

It will also pay for some teachers in the district to attend a virtual conference at the end of November. That conference, put on by the International Society for Technology in Education, includes breakout sessions that show teachers way to incorporate STEM topics in their lessons.

Arneson is excited about what teachers will be able to learn and then pass on to their students.

“Parents and students have an opportunity to see STEM can be done in younger grades,” she said.

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