Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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White County Middle Receives TVA Grant For Maker Space

White County Middle School will add a “maker space” with a 3-D printer thanks to a $10,000 TVA School Uplift Grant.

The school one of 12 recipients among Upper Cumberland schools announced by TVA. Teacher Sara Halliburton said science and STEM students will be able to access the maker space to bring to life anything they can dream up.

“The younger that we can get kids into science, the more we can get them into those types of careers,” Halliburton said. “So, you know, we’re going to need doctors, we’re going to need nurses, we’re going to need scientists.”

Halliburton said during the year-long program, she has attended five workshops and monthly coaching calls, and assembled a team focused on developing energy-saving methods. She said the behavioral changes as simple as turning off classroom lights while at lunch can make a difference in energy waste and improve the school’s overall score.

“It is very hard to change our behavior, you know?” Halliburton said. “To think about that at the forefront of the decisions that we make in our classrooms. You know, little things that we could do. Just making sure that our computers are turned off at the end of the day, making sure that we have unnecessary things unplugged.”

She said aside from what the students learn in their new maker space, she hopes kids take home a deeper understanding of how to reduce unnecessary energy use. She said the school is segmented by grade level, so it was a challenge to find something that would be as useful for sixth graders as it would be for eighth graders. She said ultimately, making sure all voices were heard drove the decision.

“It meant that we all came together and we all kind of brought different backgrounds and ideas,” Halliburton said. “And then our kids, actually, there chose what our project is going to be. We had to submit three different learning environment upgrades, and then the students actually voted on what they wanted to see us do. So, they very much had a hand in choosing how we spend this money. They were kind of in control in that sense.”

She said she is excited to have been able to provide the features that the majority of students wanted and cannot wait to see the maker space come to life.

TVA determined the amount of each grant based on scores schools were assigned for their success in cutting energy waste, engaging school communities, and a needs-based assessment.