Two teachers in Kennebec County recently were awarded $150 grants by the Kennebec Retired Educators Association to supplement expenses for classroom projects.

The recipients were Nathaniel Paine who teaches science and technology at Cony Middle School in Augusta, and Sarah Lucas, a second-grade teacher at the Helen Thompson School in West Gardiner, according to a news release from the KREAtive Grant Committee.

Paine proposed an inter-disciplinary project known as “Raspberry Pi” that allows students to assemble the hardware of a computer and code in Python — one of the most widely used programming languages. He collaborated with other seventh-grade teachers.

He said, “Our seventh grade team has structured time into our schedule for extension activities that encompass four major study areas — science, math, English language arts and social studies. Raspberry Pi enables students to design and code computer programming to solve problems that integrate across our four subject areas,” according to the release.

Lucas also plans to integrate interdisciplinary studies in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). “These projects encourage creative problem solving and innovative thinking as well as teamwork and communication skills. These skills translate into real life work environments where problem solving and teamwork are integral parts of the relevancy of the project,” said Lucas, according to the release.

George Davis, of Skowhegan, KREA president and chairperson of the KREAtive Grant Committee, said, “We are committed to helping teachers and students in many ways — by substituting, volunteering, serving on Boards of Education, and undertaking projects to enhance the classroom experience,” according to the release.

Other members of the KREAtive Grant Committee are Phil Gonyar and Carl Daiker, of Waterville; Linda Ellis, of Clinton; Joann Tyler, of China; and Kay Grindall, of Oakland.

The Kennebec Retired Educators Association is an affiliate of MEA-Retired and is comprised of retired educators from 60 schools in 31 cities and towns. Grant description and applications disseminated to every principal of all Kennebec County elementary, middle, and high schools in September of every year. The principals make them available to classroom teachers.

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