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TMT Commits $250,000 in STEM Classroom Grants on Hawaii Island

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The Thirty Meter Telescope's (TMT) THINK Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) has been funding public and public charter school STEM projects in grades 3-12 since 2015. TMT has committed $250,000 to teachers for STEM classroom grants on Hawaii Island through the online platform, Funding for these STEM-related projects can include materials such as computers, laptops and i-Pads, supplies, field trips and classroom visitors.

tmt think 1These THINK Fund STEM grants have funded 178 classroom projects in 39 of Hawaii Island's 55 public and charter schools. Experiential field trips are supported, like one teacher's efforts to ignite discovery of volcanic evidence and to kindle an interest in field exploration of geologic activity by visiting Kilauea Volcano with her students. "Doing real-life science in this culturally important place makes this learning so much more significant and memorable for my students," said Pa'auilo Elementary and Intermediate School teacher Ms. Anderson.

TMT THINK 2Over 16,000 students have been touched by these classroom grants since the THINK Fund STEM initiative launched in 2015.

"The THINK Fund at HCF wants to support more students and projects, so teachers can apply for up to $3,500 each school year by proposing one or more projects for their classroom. THINK Fund's goal is to increase student engagement through the implementation of high-quality, ready-to-go STEM projects," said Hawaii Community Foundation Vice President Lydia Clements.

TMT THINK 3Local schools that have received TMT's THINK Fund DonorsChoose STEM grants include Connections New Century Public Charter School, Ernest DeSilva Elementary School, Hilo High School, Hilo Intermediate School, Hilo Union Elementary School, Honokaa High and Intermediate School, Hookena Elementary School, Innovations Public Charter School, Ka Umeke Ka Eo Public Charter School, Kahakai Elementary School, Kano O Ka Aina New Century Public Charter School, Kau High and Pahala Elementary, Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino School, Keaau High School, Keaau Middle School, Kealakehe Elementary School, Kealakehe High School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, Kealakekua Middle School, Keonepoko Elementary School, Kohala Elementary School, Kohala High School, Kohala Middle School, Kona Pacific Public Charter School, Konawaena Elementary School, Konawaena High School, Konawaena Middle School, Kua O Ka La Public Charter School, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School, Naalehu Elementary School, Paauilo Elementary & Intermediate School, Prince Kalanianaole Elementary IS, Volcano School of Arts & Sciences, Waiakea Elementary School, Waiakea High School, Waiakea Intermediate School, Waikoloa Elementary & Middle School, Waimea Elementary School, Waters of Life Public Charter School and West Hawaii Explorations Academy.

Kohala High School teacher, Mr. Douglas commented on his "Art Everywhere in Science" classroom STEM project, " is a powerful way to get my students understanding complex science concepts such as robotics, dimensional analysis, lab project development and many other science areas."

"This is the third time in three years that you have funded a project for my class. My classroom would not be the same without your help!" said Volcano School of Arts & Sciences teacher Mrs. Hatch.

According to Keaau High School teacher Mrs. O'Neil her classroom STEM project "Quadratics Through Gravity with Eggs" made a significant difference in the lives of her students. Students were able to see the application of mathematics through physics and the interplay of gravity and drag. Students designed and embraced their design rationale of their various apparatuses to produce graceful and gentle landings of eggs dropped from the stadium bleachers. There were casualties, yet many successful eggs were intact in this experiment. Students crunched the numbers and the time it took for their apparatus to plummet to the ground, comparing the height of the stadium drop with the rate of gravity in feet per second, and analyzed drag on their apparatuses as it slowed the descent, altered the function and protected the egg.

The Thirty Meter Telescope and the THINK Fund at HCF support the mission to make it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need and move us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences for a great education.

About TMT

The Thirty Meter Telescope Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, UC, the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Mauna Kea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

For more information about the TMT project, visit, or follow @TMTHawaii.

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