Students in Northern Oklahoma Multiply Knowledge through Applied Math and Science

Our nation’s future prosperity is closely linked with student success in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, according to the STEM Education Coalition. In an effort to bridge the gap between the classroom and real-world challenges, Pond-Creek Hunter Schools in Oklahoma used a $10,000 grant from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, to provide students with upgraded equipment in their science classrooms.

“This grant has had a huge impact on our science program. We have been able to spend so much more time in the lab and less time reading text books,” said Kala Jones, Pond Creek-Hunter science teacher. “Students are applying the knowledge they are learning instead of filling out worksheets. They have much more equipment to use and will hopefully be more prepared for their college science classes because they will be familiar with a lab setting.”

Pond Creek-Hunter upgraded their science lab by adding a centrifuge, microscopes, microscope-mounted cameras with accompanying software, new burners, electricity and magnetism kits, and STEM kits, to provide more hands-on learning opportunities. Along with Pond Creek-Hunter, four other schools were awarded grants through the same program, which launched three years ago, totaling $50,000 to support math and science curriculums of Oklahoma public schools to date.

“Students have used the microscopic cameras in Forensic Science to take pictures of hairs and fibers to compare with controls. Many of these students are now considering a Forensic Science career,” said Kala. “We look at many different aspects of this type of career and try to apply as many real life situations as possible. The students work mock crime scenes, and also analyze and report data.”

Across the US, school districts are working to incorporate core state standards and hands-on learning opportunities into their math and science curriculum. These new opportunities are designed to provide real world experiences that help grow the next generation by preparing them for success in college and in their careers. Now in its third year, the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, is once again gearing up to help rural school districts by investing over $2.3 million to strengthen math and science education in rural communities.

Between now and April 6, 2014, farmers have the opportunity to nominate their local public school district to compete for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. Administrators from nominated school districts can then submit grant applications for either amount, through April 21, 2014 to enhance their math and/or science programs.

For more information about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program and to view the official rules, a list of eligible states, counties and CRDs, visit www.GrowRuralEducation.com.