Jordan is a fifth-grade teacher at the Paradise Valley Unified School District school in Phoenix that serves fourth- through sixth-graders.
“I work in a Title I school. The majority of the school is on free- or reduced-price lunch,” Jordan said. “I try my hardest to bring activities and supplies into the classroom that enhance student learning.”
The grant will help Jordan buy supplies so her students can continue to do STEM challenges on half-days.
“The students love it and so do I!” Jordan said. “It costs a lot of extra money though, so the help would be greatly appreciated!”
Video by Heidi Otero/ASBA & edited by Mary Irish/ASBA: Jennifer Jordan wins fourth AZEdNews Classroom Grant
When Jordan learned she was awarded the AZEdNews Classroom grant, she said, “Thank you so much! I’m so excited!”
In addition to the $200 AZEdNews Classroom Grant, Jordan receives a free membership to Treasures4Teachers and a $20 gift card to their stores. Treasures 4 Teachers, which just signed on to sponsor AZEdNews Classroom Grants for teachers, provides donated school supplies and other items for low-cost or for free to teacher members, and it has locations in Tempe and Phoenix.
Fifth graders who follow expectations and work hard in class get to participate in half-day STEM challenges, Jordan said.
Jordan matches the STEM challenge to a science or math standard that the students are currently learning or will learn soon in class.
“It’s a great way to use a hands-on approach to a concept learned in class. It’s also a great way for the students who aren’t the best at test-taking to show their understanding in a different format,” Jordan said.
Students need to use a limited or varied amount of materials to complete each challenge, Jordan said.
“I usually try to incorporate an art or craft element into the challenge as well. There’s almost always some type of engineering part combined with science and math,” Jordan said.
STEM challenges are a great way for students to show what they’ve learned in a subject or concept, Jordan said.
“In addition to utilizing prior knowledge on a topic, they also have to work together as a team. They also need to use strategies and conflict resolution,” Jordan said.
“Sometimes, the group that completes the challenge first gets a prize or reward. It helps to build a lot more enthusiasm. It’s a lot of fun!” Jordan said.