READING, PA (December 13, 2018) – In the penultimate round of distribution from the $2.5 million BB&T Economic Growth Fund of Berks County Community Foundation, a $20,000 grant was presented to the Innovation Lab and STEM programming at Northeast Middle School in the Reading School District.
The final round of funding from the BB&T fund will be issued in a few weeks.
The grant for the lab will be given to the Albright College 13th Street Educational Partnership, which connects the college with two neighboring schools: 13th & Union Elementary and Northeast Middle School. The college works with the school district on the Innovation Lab.
At Northeast Middle School, a former wood shop is being converted into a new STEM lab. Old equipment has been removed from the area, and two teachers key to the project, Shellie Sheidy and Megan Sheeler, have been creating relevant programming for all 6th and 7th graders. BB&T’s funds will be used to build the school’s STEM curriculum. In addition, Andrew Pochan, a local artist and Albright College instructor, is designing a STEM lab mural that will be painted by Northeast and Albright students.
Teachers in the lab focus on 21st Century skills that prepare students to be successful members of today’s workforce.
Students started using the lab at the end of November to complete the first activity, which was a “Watercraft Challenge.” This challenge called for teams of students to make a watercraft that could stay afloat for 10 seconds while being weighted down by 15 washers. The students could use only straws, a foot of saran wrap, a foot of duct tape, and a modified cup to create their craft.
The program plans to use the grant for more equipment and technology.