Gorham Middle School (GMS) announced recently that it received a $5,000 STEM grant from the Toshiba America Foundation. These funds will support various exploratory experiments in the field of neuroscience.

The grant money will be used to purchase specialized equipment from Backyard Brains, giving students the tools and procedures to perform experiments, such as: tapping into the nervous system of a cockroach to control its movements; looking at the electrical signals generated by our own brains that cause our muscles to move; and even using the signals generated by our movements to manipulate a robotic hand.

Photo credit Terri Dawson
Paul Hickey, of Toshiba America Foundation, presented a $5,000 STEM grant to Terry Bartick (center), STEM Coordinator for GMS, and Angela Gospodarek, GMS seventh grade science teacher.

Neuroscience isn’t really a field that many people have the opportunity to explore, which is what makes the acquisition of this equipment so powerful. The purpose of buying these materials is to give students the chance to experience what it might be like to go into this field in a hands-on, engaging and age-appropriate way.

During the experiments, students will focus on using the scientific process, taking data and analyzing results, and blending outcomes with design thinking to imagine what kind of problems could be solved with this knowledge.

Toshiba’s grants fund projects designed by individual classroom teachers. This “direct-to-teacher” approach brings immediate results. Teachers are able to change the way they teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects because the grant supports equipment for hands-on experiments and inquiry-based approaches to the curriculum.

The grants provide teachers with the tools they need to be more effective educators, making the classroom a more exciting place for both teachers and students.