The Spring 2007 Classroom Grant judging is completed!

Congratulations to ten lucky winners.

Below are the grant applications of our five runner-up winners. Each runner-up will receive Tool Factory Software and a Digital Camera Guide for Educators.

Click here to see the applications from the grand prize winners!

Diane Erdmann, Richfield Intermediate School

Richfield, MN

Richfield Intermediate School (RIS-grades 3,4,5) will begin its third year of developing the RIS Community Courtyard Garden in the fall of 2007. Formerly a courtyard of 1/3 cement, 2/3 grass, and one pine tree, our courtyard began its transformation after my third grade class read a book about a butterfly garden, and decided they wanted to create a butterfly of their own. That garden project is now well on its way to becoming a living lab garden and community gathering space for the entire school. Our Courtyard Garden, which deliberately reflects the life science curriculum and science standards for our third graders, is meant to be used as a living model of and lab for the three main biomes of Minnesota: prairie, woodland, and wetland/pond, along with a specific butterfly garden and an annual garden where students can do experimental plantings. My students originally wanted a space where “plants and animals could live together” and where “people would feel good when they were sad or mad”. We are very close to meeting all of these goals now. The original classroom project has turned into a whole community project blooming in the middle of our brick building, contributed to and used by many. We have one more physical space left to create.

In September 2007, our students and staff will be working together to create the last biome—our wetland/pond garden. Up to this point, all documentation and reporting of formal garden development and use has been done by staff. Now, I’d like to give students greater responsibility for documenting the development process, especially the pond creation project, and getting the word out to our larger community. Students also began scientific observations of plant and animal phenologies in the garden during the last school year, but now we’d like to give our students responsibility and opportunities for full scientific observations and inquiries related to the garden.

Using tools from the Olympus grant our students will be able to visually document and share with our community what is happening in our growing garden (the pond/wetland creation in particular), as well as document the scientific inquiry projects they will be conducting that are related to the garden.
To document the Pond Project students will:
1. Use the DIGITAL CAMERAS to photograph before, and after pictures of the pond/wetland garden.
2. Use the DIGITAL CAMERAS to photograph actual work on the pond as “Ponds For Kids” workers excavate, and as classrooms and staff complete work shifts for various steps in the construction process. Some photos will be “birds-eye” view from our classroom windows. Some will be ground level, with emphasis on documenting wide-angle and close up perspectives.
3. interview “Ponds For Kids” planners and others involved in pond development, take photos of the interviewees with the DIGITAL CAMERAS. write up the interviews, and use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP WORD PROCESSING to polish and produce news reports about the pond building project.
4. use the MULTI-MEDIA LAB to create buttons and web page about the pond creation for our garden website.
5. use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP to create posters about pond life and expected plants and animals that might cohabitate in our finished pond habitat.
6. continue to document phenology changes in the pond through the fall, winter and spring seasons using the DIGITAL CAMERAS, and posting those changes on our TOOL FACTORY HOME PAGE WEBSITE.
7. use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP with the DIGITAL CAMERAS to make a banner that will be posted on the garden development wall of the sequential, seasonal growth of the pond through the seasons of the year.
8. use MULTI_MEDIA LAB to create a movie of the pond development process for showing at community sessions such as Richfield School Board and PTO.

Students will also use DIGITAL CAMERAS and TOOL FACTORY SOFTWARE to learn and improve Scientific Observation and Inquiry Skills primarily within the school garden. These activities will meet various life science, weather, language arts, math, social studies, and mapping standards.
Students will:
1. use DIGITAL CAMERAS to record macro and micro observations of arthropod structures and life cycles, plant structures and life cycles, and biome interdependencies in the school garden.
2. use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP WORD PROCESSING to add captions and labels to observation photos and file in observation notebooks.
3. examine DIGITAL CAMERA photos with whole-class using LCD projector to point out details of structure, generate questions about observations, model looking for observational patterns. Also use TOOL FACTORY with LCD projector to record and graph data from whole class inquiry trials.
4. use TOOL FACTORY to graph and analyze observation and inquiry data for individual or group inquiry projects, and TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP WORD PROCESSING to record data analysis.
5. use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP to develop Inquiry Website (linked to classroom website) where observation and inquiry experimental processes and results can be posted, shared, and commented on.
6. use TOOL FACTORY DATA BASE to create a growing public data base of observations and inquiries regarding the RIS Courtyard Garden, that can be referred to and added to every year.
7. determine standard biological changes (events such as crab apple flowers, tulips blooming, appearance of first monarch butterfly, first hard frost, etc.) that occur within the RIS Courtyard Garden and use TOOL FACTORY DATA BASE to begin a permanent phenology record of the date each event occurs in order to create a “memory base” of biological history for the garden for reference and comparison by future student scientists.
8. Use DIGITAL CAMERAS, TOOL FACTORY DATA BASE, and TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP to create wall sized phenology poster (with spaces for annual data to be entered) to be placed semi-permanently on school hall wall near garden so that community in building can see phenology patterns.

Students will also use the TOOL FACTORY TOOLS to create reference materials from their studies that will benefit classrooms throughout our school. Students will:
1. use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP and DIGITAL CAMERA photos to create and label whole-class composite collage posters of ecosystem/biomes found in our school garden and at other field trip destinations or local parks.
2. use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP and DIGITAL CAMERAS to create scientific field guides (with photos and commentary) about our school garden and neighboring park.
3. use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP WORD PROCESSING and DIGITAL CAMERAS to create illustrated classroom Activity Guides for use by any classroom in the garden spaces, with potential to store on CD or DVD for media checkout by staff.

Students will also these tools for related cross-curricular projects and assessments. Students will:
1. use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP WORD PROCESSING to process and publish observational responses or reflections in the form of poetry, narrative, biography of an animal/plant stories, sequencing narratives, nonfiction informational guides, and anthropomorphic stories.
2. use the TOOL FACTORY MULTI-MEDIA LAB for animal classification, food chain and food web lessons activities.
3. use TOOL FACTORY MULTI_MEDIA LAB to create culminating Animal Adaptation Magazine project with interactive buttons for habitat, life cycle, and adaptations.
4. use a combination of TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP TOOLS and DIGITAL CAMERA IMAGES to assess student knowledge through thinking maps, graphics, and games about animal classification, food chains/webs, producer/consumer/decomposer, plant and animal adaptations, and ecosystems.

I would also like to assign the “Weather Tracker” as one of my weekly student jobs. I have had a student “meteorologist” read the daily weather forecast from the newspaper each day, but a weekly “Weather Tracker Team” would be even better! Students will:
1. use TOOL FACTORY MULTI MEDIA LAB to record weekly weather data (as collected from school garden Weather Station), track data, create weather maps with forecasts, show actual weather results, and report to class daily. We will add a weather data button to classroom website.

Benefits of this Garden Technology Project for our students would be:
1. experience and understanding of experimentation, scientific inquiry, and scientific process.
2. a beginning understanding of scientific community.
3. a sense of responsibility for the whole school community and beyond.
4. the power of real teamwork and cooperation.
5. knowledge of project process from beginning to end.
6. the power of multi-media in communication.
7. critical thinking
8. public presentation skills
9. understanding of climate cycles and climate change
10. appreciation of our natural world and what may be needed to protect it.


3 Memory Cards, 2G each $70 (total $210)
2 Battery chargers and batteries ($100)
Banners/Posters materials for school walls ($190)

Judges' Comments:

"This was probably one of the best "biome" type projects that was submitted. "

Adina Popa, Potowmack Elementary

Sterling, VA

LESSON TITLE: Multicultural Film Festival
Potowmack Elementary school is a multicultural elementary school located 25 miles west of Washington DC. Students in our school speak 25 different languages in their homes, and come from countries on five different continents. Every year, we hold a multicultural festival in our gym to celebrate the different cultures of our students. At the festival,participating students are each responsible for maintaining a table where they display items to teach other students about their culture. This year, we would like to hold a film festival as part of our multicultural day celebrations, featuring short films made by our students using Olympus cameras.
Movie making is an exciting and successful project-based approach in education. As part of this movie making project, students will be placed in grade-level or multiage small, collaborative groups based on their cultural backgrounds. Students will be challenged and asked to take their learning to a higher level by creating (1) videos of finished products, (2) plays/role plays, (3) historical reenactments, (4) video podcasts, and (5) documentaries. In addition, students will create their own soundtracks, using Sibelius, a music composition and instrumental playback software.
To prepare for Multicultural Day, students will bring artifacts from home that are unique to their culture. They will write scripts for short films, featuring these different artifacts. They will use Sibelius to create music that is typical of their culture to accompnay their video. Then, students will use digital still cameras to create digitally animated movies (including claymation) about their culture. Their animations will then be enhanced with the Tool Factory Multimedia Lab V. Students will be given the opportunity to use their original pictures on the storyboard, or manipulate these pictures with Fresco, as they may want to add details that are not available immediately.
Participants in Multicultural Day will also have the opportunity to use the digital cameras to take pictures related to their culture, aside from the film production. They will use Fresco and their digital pictures to create posters about their cultures. These posters will be displayed at Multicultural Day. Students will also use Tool Factory to create banners and invitations advertising Multicultural Day. We will use Home Page to display information about Multicultural Day on our school web site.
Our students (directors) will culminate their 2006-2007 film careers at Potowmack Elementary with a film premiere at the end of multicultural day. In a theatre setting, each group will showcase their films at a celebration attended by the rest of the school. At the end of Multicultural Day, students will receive copies of their films.

This project based learning approach is highly supported by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) which states that children learn best when they are working on "meaningful projects," and when they can share their ideas and projects with others as they take control of their own learning.

Our goals for the students as they work on video technology projects are: (1) personal and social responsibility, (2) planning, critical thinking, reasoning, and creativity, (3) strong communications skills, (4) cross-cultural understanding, (5) visualizing and decision-making, (6) knowing how and when to use technology and choosing the most appropriate tool for the task.


SIBELIUS 4 + The Keystation 49e for music to accompany animated films - $299
Viking SD cards for picture storage - $54.99 each x 3 = $164.97
Colored paper for invitations - $35


Julia Winter, Thomasville City Schools Scholars Academy

Thomasville, GA

LESSON TITLE: The Art of Mathematics
The grant award will be used with students in sixth grade mathematics and ninth grade geometry classes. Students often question the relevance of mathematical concepts. This grant will allow students to see that there is a direct link between mathematics and architecture and that making this link can be done with artistic expression and creativity.

The Lapham-Patterson house in Thomasville, Georgia, was built in 1885 and was considered a very “modern” home for its time. Mr. Lapham, as a survivor of the Chicago fire, built this house with 45 doors in it, 24 of which are exterior doors. Each room in the house is a unique geometric shape: there are no right angles in this house, no symmetry in its basic design, and the wood floor patterns reflect the asymmetry of the entire room. The exterior of the house is made up of a large variety of decorative siding patterns. The original walkway designs and gardens reflect the asymmetry of the house. This building provides a geometry-rich environment and endless possibilities for creative math projects.

During prior classroom instruction, we will discuss the role of mathematics in architecture and the history of the Lapham-Patterson House. Student will present a proposal for their project which includes (but is not limited to)
- geometric concepts to be “captured” by the DIGITAL CAMERAS.
-media for the artistic expression of the concept(s). Students will select their project and use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP to implement their plan. Projects may include graphic representations such as posters, booklets, slide shows, or collages.

After classroom discussion, students will go on a field excursion to the Lapham-Patterson house, armed with DIGITAL CAMERAS and imagination. Students may need more than one trip to acquire all their data, so it is anticipated that we will take two field trips. The school has a computer lab, so class time can be designated exclusively in the lab for this project. The historic building is within walking distance of the school.

Final projects must have a written explanation of the media they have selected and the geometric concepts expressed. Students will utilize TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP WORD PROCESSING to create the text for their work. The written portion of the project incorporates a cross-curricular aspect: work will be peer-reviewed and critiqued before finalization.

These projects will be displayed in the school and showcased at the city school board office. The local television station also produces features school activities; this project would be a great community-interest story.

The Art of Mathematics project is an excellent way for students to relate geometry to real-world applications and for them to have an opportunity to explore the creative and fun ways math is included in graphic arts projects.

Project Budget:
3 Olympus Digital Camera Starter Kits
(case, batteries with charger, table top tripod) @ $40.00 $120.00
1 box HP Office Paper @$ 38.00 $ 38.00
1 HP Office Paper 11x17 $ 20.00 $ 20.00
4 Black Ink Cartridges @$ 20.00 $ 80.00
4 Color Ink Cartridges @$ 22.00 $ 88.00
Entry Fees for Lapham-Patterson house
75 students @ $2.00 each plus 8 adults @ $3.50 $178.00
Total $524.00
(Thomasville City Schools will pay for any expenses exceeding $500.00)

Paul Holwegner, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

Lihue, HI

LESSON TITLE: CSI Middle School- Where the Evidence is The True Witness

Students are often taught skills such as the scientific method, scientific research, critical thinking, making observations, analyzing facts, and drawing conclusions, in isolation and do not know how to apply them to real life. Studying forensic science allows students to practice these skills and see theories put into practice by using circumstances which model real life events.
Therefore, I am creating and will be teaching a middle school enrichment course called CSI Middle School. The course is mainly based on the popular CSI series. In the course students will be trained to investigate crimes and collect evidence. They will study police procedures for gathering and analyzing different types of evidence like ballistics, blood type, dna fingerprints, shoeprints, hair/fiber, tool marks, forensic anthropology, arson, etc. During this time, the students also participate in a variety of hands-on science experiments such as making plaster casts of shoe prints, analyzing blood spatter patterns, studying fingerprints, and analyzing handwriting samples.
Next, the students take part in a variety of mock crimes. The crimes involve many different types of evidence. Some of the crimes will be “Who Stole the Cookies,” “Who kidnapped the mascot?” “Who Murdered Mr. M?” along with many others.
Students will work together to uncover the facts surrounding the crimes. As detectives, they will view the scene and gather a variety of physical evidence. They will document their findings on the P.D.A’s.
Students will then go back to the crime lab and process the evidence. They will use what they know about the crime and the suspect to begin to eliminate possible suspects. After all the evidence has been processed, students will perform a mock trial to charge the suspect. Students will play the attorney or the experts and will explain why the suspect is the criminal using the evidence and data gathered.
My students will use the DIGITAL CAMERAS to accurately document our crime scene before gathering the evidence. These pictures will be used to revisit the crime scene as well as being used as supporting evidence in the mock trial.
Students will use TOOL FACTORY WORD PROCESSOR to write their investigative reports. They will document what they see or saw at the crime scene and what their thoughts are about the crime. The WORD PROCESSOR program would also be used to write opening and closing remarks, as well as other components for the mock trial.

When learning about crime scene investigations students will document their findings using the DIGITAL CAMERAS and the TOOL FACTORY DATABASE to develop a DATABASE for organizing their data. They will put pictures of the data that they learn about into this DATABASE and access it when trying to solve the mock crimes.
Students will also use the TOOLFACTORY SPREADSHEET to keep track of information about our suspects as it comes in from interviews, including topics such as motive, alibi, suspicious behaviors, etc. The TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET would also be a great tool for recording results from our different surveys and activities such as a fingerprint survey noting the number of students with the three different types of fingerprint patterns: loops, whorls, and arches.
The TOOL FACTORY PAINTER will be used to prepare photographs of evidence to be used in our mock trial.

Project Budget:
CSI: Who Killed Henry Ward? Lab Activity $299.00
Color Ink for Printer $100.00
WARD’S Embedded Ballistics Set, Embedded Bullets $59.45
WARD’S Embedded Ballistics Sets, Embedded Shell Casings $39.95

Rob Schneider, School Without Walls

Rochester, NY

LESSON TITLE: Building the Ideal Community

What better way to bring students to understand the development of their country and reflect on its ethnic diversity--its significance as well as the importance of respecting others and accepting their differences--than to have them create their own communities? As a Humanities teacher at School Without Walls, an Expeditionary Learning school in Rochester New York, I am constantly looking for new ways to engage my students. I believe that, for my students, the project of building their ideal community will be an exciting educational experience that will encourage them not only to apply knowledge acquired in the classroom but also to reflect on their environment and their own role in society.

Next year my seventh grade students will learn about the history of this country prior to the Civil War. In order for each student to understand how this country was formed I am going to ask each of them to create his/her ideal community. Students will work in groups of three on these projects.

Each group will choose a name for their community, create customs, and assign roles to twenty-five citizens, including a community hero. Students in their respective groups will develop a constitution and a code of conduct, select laws and forms of punishment, compose a national anthem, and design a flag. Each group will also create their own community center, organize a workshop on cultural sensitivity, design an anti-hate prevention program, and produce a commercial aimed at preventing future acts of genocide.

In addition to creating their community, students will keep a daily journal about its development. They will also write reflections on what it means to be a citizen, what constitutes freedom of speech, what the importance of diversity is, and what makes a community multicultural. Finally, they will reflect on the benefits of living in their specific community.

Students will take part in a number of engaging activities such as a panel discussion with Holocaust survivors, a dialogue with residents of Rochester who were involved in the 1964 Race Riots, and a visit to youth community centers in the city.

Fieldwork will include a visit to the Mohawk Reservation in Akwesasne New York, where students will spend two nights and three days on the reservation. Students will be matched up with a youth their age, they will stay in their home, attend Akwesasne Freedom School, meet with and interview people living on the reservation, and partake in a Mohawk feast. Fieldwork will also include one day outings to select neighborhoods in Rochester where students will meet with and interview members of the community, visit local businesses and community centers, and research the history of the neighborhood.

For their end projects students will have the option of either building a life-size long house with an Oneida Native American artist, creating a five-panel mural with a local artist, designing a website or writing a children’s book about their community, filming and editing a documentary about their entire experience, or constructing a scale model of their community.

Students will design flyers and invitations for Exhibition Night that will be distributed to their families and friends, as well as other members of the community. During Exhibition Night, which will take place in March, the end projects will be placed on display, and students will be responsible for presenting them to the public.

With the OLYMPUS GRANT I will:

1. have students film community interviews using the video function on the DIGITAL CAMERAS

2. have students create files using TOOL FACTORY to store all the pictures taken during the expedition

3. in conjunction with the Media Technology teacher at School Without Walls, have students use TOOL FACTORY HOME PAGE to design community websites that family, friends, peers, and other members of the community will view from their homes on the internet

4. in conjunction with the seventh grade English teacher, have all of the students complete their written assignments using TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP WORD PROCESSING

5. have students take pictures of the people they interact with and interview during the expedition using the DIGITAL CAMERAS

6. have students film their discussion with members of the community who were involved in Rochester Race Riots using the video function on the DIGITAL CAMERAS

7. have students film their discussion with Holocaust survivors using the video function on the DIGITAL CAMERAS

8. have students take photos with the DIGITAL CAMERAS of the fieldwork trips to neighborhoods in Rochester

9. have students use the video function on the DIGITAL CAMERAS to film their genocide prevention commercials

10. have students design flyers and invitations using TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP

11. in conjunction with a local artist, have students create a draft of the five-panel mural using WHOLE CLASS FRESCO

12. in conjunction with the Art teacher, have students use MULTIMEDIA LAB V to create a photo montage of members of their communities

13. have students write, edit, and store their community laws, constitution, flag, national anthem, code of conduct, and written reflections using TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP WORD PROCESSING

14. in conjunction with the Media Technology teacher, have students make a DVD of their entire expedition.

15. in conjunction with the seventh grade Math teacher, have students keep track of their community budgets using TOOL FACTORY SPREADSHEET

16. in conjunction with the Math, English, and Science teachers, have students prepare their presentations for Exhibition Night using MULTIMEDIA LAB V

17. have students take photos of the five-panel mural using the DIGITAL CAMERAS

18. in conjunction with the local artist, have students design a greeting card composed of images of the five-panel mural taken with the DIGITAL CAMERAS using TOOLFACTORY WORKSHOP

19. have students use the DIGITAL CAMERAS to film and take photos of the fieldwork conducted on the Mohawk reservation

20. in conjunction with the seventh grade English teacher, have students who will design the children’s books use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP and WHOLE CLASS FRESCO to complete their end project

21. in conjunction with the Media Technology teacher, have students who will film the community documentaries use the video function on the DIGITAL CAMERAS to complete their end project

22. have students who will build a scale model of their community use TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP and WHOLE CLASS FRESCO to complete their end project


All-in-One Printer/Copier/Scanner $300.00
Digital Camera Cases 3@ $15.00 - $45.00
Memory Cards 3@ $30.00 - $90.00
Cardstock Paper 2@ $15.00 - $30.00
Battery Charger $35.00
Total $500.00

Read the applications of the 5 grand prize winners.