This year marks the 25th anniversary of Bright Ideas. Grants are awarded by each of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives, including Union Power Cooperative, and are open to teachers in all 100 counties.
Approximately 600 grants are awarded statewide to teachers each year for projects that engage students in new and innovative ways. Since the program began in 1994 at Brunswick EMC in Shallotte, North Carolina’s electric cooperatives collectively have awarded more than $12.2 million in Bright Ideas grants to fund more than 11,600 projects, reaching more than 2.3 million students in subjects including math, reading, science, technology, music and the arts.
Don’t Drink That Water
Take a closer look. That’s exactly what the students did at Millbridge Elementary School in China Grove. Their teacher, Angela DeMarco, made that possible by winning a Bright Ideas grant from Union Power to get updated microscopes. Recently students took a closer look at that crystal clear water through the lenses of their new microscopes and saw what they did not want in their bodies — and it was gross.
One of the fifth-grade standards in science involves students learning about structures and systems of organisms and their functions necessary for life. Students are required to know the difference between unicellular and multicellular cells. “Science is all in the detail,” says teacher Angela DeMarco.
Last year students were working on this particular standard, and the one outdated microscope they had was broken, hindering that in-depth look into these organisms. Now that they have the new microscopes in the classrooms, the students can learn about these two types of cells, making this a hands-on project where they can see what the naked eye cannot. “The microscopes allow you to see all the complicated parts and help us to understand,” said Benjamin, one of the fifth-grade students.
The class was broken down into four different groups allowing all the students an opportunity to take a closer look. As part of the project, the students will actually create both of these cells, label parts and their different functions, and will be given the opportunity to create a story, comic, or a song called “My Life as a Cell.”
Educators: Apply Today
April 1 kicks off the 2019/2020 Bright Ideas campaign. Educators can apply for up to $2,000 in grants to fund creative, hands-on classroom projects in K-12 classrooms. Teachers can apply individually or as a team, and grants are available for all subjects.
Applications are accepted April 1 through Sept. 23.
To learn more and apply for a 2019 Bright Ideas grant, visit Union Power Cooperative online.