Mini-Grant Application for School Year 2017

Submitted by: R. Frank Nims Middle School Email: Grade Level: 6-8 Subject: Science
Co-Applicant: Email: Grade level: Subject:

School: R. Frank Nims Middle School Type: Public Grade Levels:6-8 County:Leon

Approx. Enrollment: 447 Number of teachers:30

School Address:

723 West Orange Avenue
Tallahass, Florida 32310

Phone: 8504885960 Principal: Kelvin Norton Email:

Project Title: Solar Energy Project to Teach STEM
Project Dates: 11/15/2017-04/15/2018 Grade Levels:

Focus Area(s) :renewable energy- solar energy- sustainability - pollution

Solar energy holds the potential to be one of the most important sources of energy, amidst concerns about pollution and pressure on natural resources. Advances in solar energy are key to its widespread use in homes and electric cars. To demonstrate solar energy, Nims Middle school students will use kits to construct locomotives, mini trains, and have them powered using solar energy. This important project will generate interest in renewable energy in our students and STEM education.


How is your project innovative?   (25 points)
Nims Middle School students will conduct solar energy project to demonstrate several science concepts. Our project is unique because we focus on renewable energy, addressing an important topic. Currently the world faces concerns about sustainable use of resources. Solar energy, because of its abundance is an important source of sustainable energy. In our project, we will purchase small motors or engines to run mini locomotives (trains). These engines will come as kits. We will then purchase kits to build the mini locomotives. The students will construct the locomotives using the building material kits and small engines. Constructing the kits will provide the hands-on experience necessary for the students. An exciting part of the project will be how the locomotives will run. We will utilize small portable solar panels, also obtained as kits. The solar panels will be used as the energy source to move the locomotives. The students will be able to observe that if there is no solar energy, the mini locomotives will not move. Once the solar panels are put on the sun and collect solar energy, the locomotives will move. Throughout the project, the students will form teams to demonstrate solutions to a real life problem combining all disciplines of STEM.

How will it fit into your curriculum (include standards)? (10 points)
Our project was identified to fit within the core subjects in our science curriculum, ones that need emphasis with hands on experiments particularly for our students. The project addresses several standards in energy transfer and transformation including: SC.6.P.11.1: Explore the Law of Conservation of Energy by differentiating between potential and kinetic energy. Identify situations where kinetic energy is transformed into potential energy and vice versa. The project has chemical energy from the sun or potential energy being transferred to kinetic energy. The project covers motion of objects. SC.6.P.12.1: Measure and graph distance versus time for an object moving at a constant speed. Interpret this relationship. SC.7.P.10.1: Illustrate that the sun's energy arrives as radiation with a wide range of wavelengths, including infrared, visible, and ultraviolet, and that white light is made up of a spectrum of many different colors. SC.7.P.11.2: Investigate and describe the transformation of energy from one form to another. SC.7.P.11.3: Cite evidence to explain that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, only changed from one form to another.

How will it encourage long-lasting change in your classroom, school or community? (20 points)
The project will provide experiences that have a long lasting change in our classroom and community. It’s not often that classrooms get to conduct such rich experiments to visually demonstrate renewable energy. This project also demonstrates electric cars. Our gasoline cars are among the major polluters to the environment, concepts of which the students will be able to compare. Our community is cognizant of renewable energy and particularly solar energy. There are recent developments in building solar energy projects in our community. Teaching and demonstrating on renewable energy fits within the projects our community is conducting. Students informed on sustainable use of resources, the impact human population has on natural resources, will all have lasting impact on our community.

How will technology be utilized?  (20 points)
Technology is the key component of our project. The project demonstrates photons, which radiate from the sun transferring their energy to loose electrons on the panels to create an electrical imbalance and ultimately into current to power the mini locomotives. The project demonstrates one of the most important technologies currently being researched by scientists, solar energy efficiency and battery storage for electrical cars.

What evidence will you collect to show student gain?   (10 points)
Students will collect data in their journals on the project which will be evaluated for comprehension. In addition, oral discussions will be used to determine students gain. The ultimate test to demonstrate student gains will be through pre and post tests.

How will participants share your project results with the community?  (15 points)
Our project success will be shared within our school district newsletters, science fairs and social media. The findings will also be shared to parents and of course with TERRA.


Service/ Item Description Cost
Solar Panel Kits 2130
Mini Locomotives Kits 870
Total Cost of Project 3000
If matching funds identified list source:
Donated Goods/Services:

I, R. Frank Nims Middle School, certify that the application is complete and final, AND I verify that I have received permission to apply for these funds from Kelvin Norton,the Principal of R. Frank Nims Middle School and any other individuals required by my school district.