Flagler County Teachers Awarded Grant Funding for Technology and Environmental Sustainability Projects

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 1:13pm

Four Flagler County teachers have been awarded funding for innovative projects they will be implementing with students this year. TERRA is a nonprofit organization which provides funding and support for technology and environmental education. This year, they provided $50,000 in funding for innovative technology projects across Florida, with nearly $12,000 awarded to four innovative Flagler County teachers.


Melanie Tahan was awarded funding for a makerspace project to help develop creativity and critical thinking through play for younger students. This grant will provide the Rymfire Elementary media center with various robotics and technology products to help students engage in robotics, movie-making, and digital design. This grant coincides as a part of a larger project, titled, The Hammock, and also is what the new space will be named. Ms. Tahan has teamed up with a group of RES Community Problem Solver students that are helping to reimagine The Hammock space in its entirety from adding new furniture and other accessible learning creation tools.


Andrew Medearis, a STEM teacher at Buddy Taylor Middle School is facilitating a switchgrass biomass growing trial in a partnership with Ernst Seed Company and Penn State University. The TERRA grant awarded technology for this project, helping his class attempt to create biodiesel and bioethanol from the switchgrass as well as collect and analyze data from the crops. Additionally, the project will fund field cameras that take time lapse pictures, allowing students to document the growth of the switchgrass as it grows.


Kim Weeks will use money from the TERRA grant to create an augmented reality sandbox and ocean exploration station in her media center at Old Kings Elementary. This will enable students to go on virtual underwater adventures and explore ocean habitats. This project will serve as an excellent addition to the Old Kings Marine Science Flagship Program.


Michele Mantell is a STEM teacher at Bunnell Elementary School. She was awarded money to purchase various educational technology items, including 360 cameras which allow students to create their own virtual field trips, Virtual Reality goggles and devices, and Makedo cardboard construction kits. These projects will help students develop communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills.


Ryan Deising, Executive Director of Innovation for Flagler County Schools congratulates these teachers on their hard work and ability to engage students in real-world learning opportunities. “We are excited to receive funding which helps supports our 1:1 initiative and the creative ideas of teachers.”