HEF grants fund a wide range of projects that both supplement and complement Hopkins School District’s rigorous core curriculum. This autumn’s cycle of grants is an exciting mix that reflects the creativity and ingenuity of Hopkins staff. Topics include scientific inquiry in robotics and meteorology, interactive history, extracurricular academic teams, microfinance lessons, impactful curricular enhancements at both the preschool and secondary levels, and creative healthy eating initiatives. HEF grants engage students, invigorate learning, and elevate the classroom experience.
Community Vegetable Garden & Outdoor Classroom – $4,479, Glen Lake Elementary – Hannah Swaden, Maria Williams, David Simpson
Partnering with Glen Lake’s community, the school’s new living laboratory will focus on science, agriculture, and cooperation. Each grade level will plant six plots and use the garden in a different way. Third graders, for example, will grow their own snacks, study the physics of sound, build birdhouses, and investigate native rocks and minerals. The outdoor classroom will include benches and tree stumps for seating, and will provide an intriguing alternative learning environment, with space for unique science experiments and nature observation. Extra food will be donated to the ICA Food Shelf. Read more.
Royal Roundup, NJH’s weekly video show presented to the entire student body, will get a big facelift. This grant enables North’s student Genius Team to take the lead in designing and remodeling the current outdated video studio. New equipment will be used for the Roundup, and will also be available to all students to create, edit, and share video productions with a school-wide audience. Read more.
‘Get Set for School’ ECSE Curriculum – $3,000, Harley Hopkins Family Center – Jennifer Muller, Linda Hanson, Jackie Wood
The Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) team at Harley Hopkins is currently successfully piloting the Get Set for School preschool curriculum. This HEF grant expands Get Set to six sets of materials to enable widespread use among all ECSE classrooms. Each year, more than 100 three to five-year-old students with a variety of disabilities will benefit from these terrific learning tools, which support children’s diverse learning styles. Read more.
Fun, hands-on science takes flight with this helium-powered weather balloon. Seventh and eighth grade students in the Experimental Science elective will track the balloon’s fact-finding mission with a Go-Pro camera they install before launch. Data sensors, recorders, and GPS tracking device on board will transmit back to students. They’ll use the data to understand weather and atmosphere, to hone graphing skills, and for analysis and discussion. The project will culminate in a student-created high-quality video of the launch, and a presentation of their experimental findings at the school science fair. Read more.
History Live – $3,000, North & West Junior Highs, All Sixth Grades – Allegra Smisek, Betsy Julien, Norah Garrison
Minnesota Historical Society experts will use 21st Century technology to ‘transport’ Hopkins students back in time, connecting them to important segments of our country’s history. Students interact via video conference with historians in period costume, effectively bringing these experts into the classroom. Using archives, primary sources and intense research, this virtual field trip takes students on a journey to a time and place as foreign as another planet, making history relevant and comprehensible. Read more.
Kiva Microfinance: Making a Difference in the Third World – $4,175, North & West Junior Highs – Allegra Smisek, Debbie Hahn, Kim Campbell
This is an exciting addition to the eighth grade International Baccalaureate’s (IB) global studies curriculum. Students, collaborating in groups of three, will get the opportunity to invest in someone’s future. After first heavily researching entrepreneurs in developing Third World countries, each group will choose a small business to receive a $25 loan. The group must present their research and track the outcome of their investment. Read more.
Minecraft After-School Club – $2,337, North & West Junior Highs — Sarah Speicher, Becky Jacobson, Becky Fritz
In this fun extra-curricular enrichment program, junior high students play MinecraftEdu, a school-ready remix of the popular game Minecraft. They’ll learn programming and coding, planning, asset management and critical thinking skills. Students will be able to use what they learn in Minecraft Club for projects in nearly any subject area. Read more.
RoboSquad – Bringing STARBASE to Elementary – $6,000, Meadowbrook Elementary – Chuck Burmeister, Kelley White, Bobby Krzmarzick
Fourth and fifth graders across the District are attending STARBASE Minnesota, a Department of Defense program that utilizes a mission to Mars as the vehicle to introduce practical fun applications of engineering and science principles. RoboSquad brings STARBASE back to Hopkins. This pilot program consists of building and manipulating twelve Lego programmable robots. Read more.
This is the inaugural gift from The Awesome Fund, dedicated solely to student clubs and organizations, and funded by an anonymous alumnus and his employer’s match.
Science Olympiad is an extra-curricular academic team, for students in grades 9-12 with a penchant for science, and will compete in scholarship-granting competitions. Team advisor Michael Gehlsen, science teacher at NJH and HHS, once an Olympiad himself, has as much enthusiasm for the Olympiad as his students. Read more.
Shifting to New Concepts in Literacy – $3,600, North & West Junior Highs, Hopkins High School – Jennifer Behnke, Ann Brustuen
HEF is partnering with the Hopkins School District to send nine teachers to train next summer in successful research-based adolescent literacy education for junior high and high school students. These teachers will in turn train others in the District in these ‘best practices’. Read more.
Tower Vegetable Garden: Indoor Harvesting and Sharing – $1,148, Eisenhower & XinXing Elementaries – Vicky White, William Barringer
Second graders will plant, monitor, harvest and share the bounty from this impressive tower of fauna on wheels. As the pyramid of 28 plants circulates among five classrooms, these fast-growing (4-8 weeks) fruits and vegetables will encourage experimentation with new food and discussions about healthy choices. Read more.