Aberdeen Roncalli receives two 3M Foundation grants to enhance STEM focus

ABERDEEN, S.D. STEM is becoming a major focus in schools across the nation and Aberdeen Roncalli is no exception. They recently received two grants totaling around $42,000 from the 3M Foundation.

The $25,000 Eco-Grant is going to Roncalli High School Science Teacher Patty Martin.

"The grant is going to be used to purchase equipment for doing some STEM challenges such as bio-fuel challenges, a wind energy challenge, an alternative energy source challenge, and then also some water quality testing equipment," Martin said.

The science teacher also plans on starting a recycling program with the grant. She'll purchase recycling containers for the school as well as signs to bring awareness to the topic.

STREAMLab Facilitator Jennifer Goscicki is the recipient of the $17,000 Robotics grant.

"All of our teachers are either STEM certified or becoming STEM certified and this grant will help enhance our ongoing program that will purchase robotics for the classroom," Goscicki said.

Both teachers can't wait to implement new tools into the student's learning.

"Robotics are very interesting to kids of course, kids love robots of any size or shape, but it teaches problem solving skills through the programming," Goscicki said. "It teaches them the new technologies that are coming out all the time."

"If we can do this awareness of getting their carbon footprint in the back of their mind and they'll say, 'oh look at this, it's a piece of garbage. I can recycle this,' instead of putting it into the landfill," Martin said.

The school district has seen plenty of community support about the their STEM focus.

"I'm most excited that the community is really supporting our STREAM programs here at Roncalli, which is STEM plus religion and the arts. We are just thrilled that the community is standing behind us through this process of learning in such a new and different way," Goscicki.

But the fun has to wait until January for the students, although many are excited to see what new tools they'll get to use. Teachers hope to continue any data gathering for years to come.