O&R Stem Grant Helps Guide Port Jervis Students on a Journey of Discovery

Megan Wieboldt wanted to teach her seventh grade Life Science class at Port Jervis Middle School about echolocation.

That’s how bats and dolphins, for example, aim high-frequency sounds at objects and then gauge the time, direction and strength of the returning signal --- the echo --- to locate obstacles in their paths or other objects such as prey. It’s the same underlying principle for the science that created radar and sonar navigational devices.


A Life Science teacher for 14 years, Megan knew that, to make her lesson plan work, she needed to replicate field conditions in the controlled environment of the classroom. She selected the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics kit with ultra-sound sensors for student teams to use to create a prototype to demonstrate echolocation. She drew up her lesson plan to emphasize team work, scientific observation, problem solving, data collection and analysis.


All she needed to do then was find a way to pay the $823.90 cost of the kits.   


Megan applied for and was awarded an O&R STEM Classroom Grant for the 2018-2019 school year, and the students got to work.


She said, “The Orange and Rockland grant is a very important thing for a teacher. It‘s allowing me to get materials for my students to help increase their knowledge that I would not necessarily be able to afford.”


Megan applied for an O&R STEM Classroom Grant for the 2019-2020 school year as well, and was awarded the $958 grant. That project features the study of animal skulls to illustrate higher scientific principles.

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