Chemistry teachers face many challenges. One of those challenges is providing our students with the equipment and resources they need to be successful. Many teachers find themselves in schools that cannot afford to properly outfit their chemistry courses. That is exactly the situation I found myself in as a new teacher. I was trying to build a chemistry program on a budget of $250 dollars a year. As a consequence, I found myself constantly looking for ways to get free resources.
The Hach grant allowed me to purchase a colorimeter and sets of Vernier pH sensors and gas pressure sensors. If I had dedicated my entire budget to purchasing these on my own, it would have taken 6 years. I was able to bring modern technology into my classroom and increase the level of engagement of my students. We all have resources that we know could improve our classroom and the Hach grant is an amazing way to get them.
The application window just opened for this great program and I would like to give a few words of advice to those who are thinking of applying. The best advice I can give is for the teacher to ask themself, “What will my students be doing?” This is advice that I got from one of the grant administrators and it served me well. The Hach grant is meant to have an impact on your students so they should be the focal point of your grant proposal. It is easy to talk about what you plan to do with the materials, but it is much more powerful to explain what you want your students to accomplish and learn. Thinking about it from this perspective will improve your grant application, but more importantly it will help you to use the materials you get more effectively.
The other advice I would give is about how to decide what to ask for. I would encourage you to think about two things. First, what areas do your students struggle with? Second, are the resources going to help current and future students? You want to focus your grant on something that will increase your student’s understanding of a particular concept but you do not want to ask for something that will be unsustainable. If the material is consumable or you cannot afford the upkeep, it might not be the best choice.
More information and application forms can be found at ACS.org. 2015/2016 applications are due April 1, 2015.
I would encourage you to apply for this amazing opportunity. The whole process is fairly painless, the administrators are very helpful, and it can make a huge difference for your students. Good Luck!