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Bright Ideas Grants Fund Innovative Projects for Students

Sometimes, an innovative or creative idea for a classroom project just needs a little support. That’s why Jackson EMC is proud to support educators with creative ideas to bring learning to life – whether in a classroom or online.

Jackson EMC’s Bright Ideas grant program provides middle school educators with up to $2,000 to support classroom projects that would otherwise not be funded. Since 2015, Jackson EMC has awarded $343,494 in Bright Ideas grants to middle school teachers with creative ideas for classroom projects.

This academic year, 47 teachers in 25 middle schools were awarded Jackson EMC Bright Ideas grants totaling $64,000. Winning entries represented instruction in history, language arts, math, science, social studies, information technology and more. Regardless of whether students met online or in-person, the projects were designed to be engaging.

Bright Ideas grant applications for the 2021-2022 school year will be accepted beginning in August.

Visit jacksonemc.com/brightideas for details.  

3-D Physics Car Derby

Caralena Luthi, $1,532, West Jackson Middle School, Jackson County

Eighth-grade physical science students participated in a 3-D Physics Car Derby after designing their own 3-D printed cars. Students built their cars at school or at home by using their understanding of kinetic and potential energy, and the races were streamed online for students learning digitally. The project helped students learn problem-solving skills and enabled them to explore engineering as a career choice.

Driving By With Auto AI

Jason Hurd, $2,000, Twin Rivers Middle School, Gwinnett County

Computer Science teacher Jason Hurd taught students about artificial intelligence and computer programming through the use of an artificially intelligent mini self-driving car purchased with a Bright Ideas grant. Students learned about the global impact of AI. They also explored career pathways in AI and computer science by working collaboratively to program the car to navigate a custom-built obstacle course.

Making Virtual Learning Hands-On

Tamra Morris, $1,265, Westside Middle School, Barrow County

Tamra Morris purchased digital microscopes with her Bright Ideas grant to bridge the gap between classroom and digital learning. The digital microscopes, which students were able to check out for remote learning, facilitated lab work in biology, oceanography, genetics, ecology and botany. “These microscopes enable students to see the differences between animal and plant cells, algae and protozoa and unicellular fungi and multicellular fungi,” Morris said. She hopes her students will be lifelong science learners as a result.