Mini-Grant Application for School Year 2018-2019

Submitted by: Michelle Coolican Email: Grade Level: 7-8 Subject: STEM
Co-Applicant: Email: Grade level: Subject:

School: Buddy Taylor Middle School Type: Public Grade Levels:7-8 County:Flagler

Approx. Enrollment: 1 Number of teachers:46

School Address:

4500 Belle Terre Pkwy
Palm Coast, Florida 32164

Phone: (386) 446-6700 Principal:Robert Bossardet Email:


Project Title: Virtual Meets the Natural World
Project Dates: November, -February, Grade Levels:

Focus Area(s) :STEM- Ecology- Marine Science -

At Buddy Taylor Middle School, we are fortunate to call Wadsworth Elementary School our neighbor. This provides many opportunities for our students to develop leadership skills and teaching opportunities. For this project, we are seeking funds to provide our STEM students with training in Marine Science Ecosystems. They will utilize this knowledge to create their own aquariums and Google Expedition virtual tours, which they will share with Wadsworth Elementary students, teaching them about marine ecosystems and how to care for our environment. Students will travel to University of Florida Whitney Labs, where they will learn about the changing landscapes and ecosystems at our beaches and estuaries, and how these dynamics affect both local wildlife and humans. During their Whitney Labs visit, students will conduct experiments, and observe microscopic and planktonic organisms collected from the Whitney dock. They will also learn about careers in STEM and Marine Science. After, students will use their laptops to conduct more research, and then create aquariums, virtual tours, and animal trading cards to represent a marine ecosystem. Elementary students will visit our classroom and travel through stations playing the trading card game, using VR headsets to experience the Google Expedition tour, and exploring the aquarium ecosystems.


How is your project innovative?   (25 points)
Our project is innovative by providing an opportunity for our students to teach others while learning about STEM and Marine Science concepts and careers. As teachers, we know how much more we learn when we teach something to others, so this experience will help engage our middle school students in the content they are learning, helping them to synthesize information, and also providing our elementary students with quality lessons and mentors they can look up to and learn from. Our project also provides a unique way for students to learn how about marine and environmental science. Often, we take field trips without providing students with specific goals or a purpose for attending. Informing our students that they will prepare marine science lessons for elementary classrooms provides our students with a “need to know”, keeping them focused and engaged while learning from experts at the Whitney Labs. Using modern technology like VR headsets, 3D cameras, and Infographics also makes this project innovative.

How will it fit into your curriculum (include standards)? (10 points)
During the Whitney Lab visit and their collaborative research, students will gain a better understanding of the relationships between organisms in an ecosystem. Being able to experience relationships such as predation, parasitism, and competition will help solidify these concepts for students. SC.7.L.17.1 Explain and illustrate the roles of and relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in the process of energy transfer in a food web. SC.7.L.17.2 Compare and contrast the relationships among organisms such as mutualism, predation, parasitism, competition, and commensalism. SC.7.L.17.3 Describe and investigate various limiting factors in the local ecosystem and their impact on native populations, including food, shelter, water, space, disease, parasitism, predation, and nesting sites. SC.6.L.15.1 Analyze and describe how and why organisms are classified according to shared characteristics with emphasis on the Linnaean system combined with the concept of Domains. ISTE Knowledge Constructor Standard 3a Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits. Students will create marine science projects, while considering their elementary student audience. They will develop a trading card game station, VR Google Expedition Tour, and aquariums for students to experience. Students will develop both design and presentation skills. SC.68.CS-CC.1.3 Design, develop, and publish a collaborative digital product using a variety of digital tools and media-rich resources that demonstrate and communicate concepts to inform, persuade, and/or entertain. ISTE Creative Communicator Standard 6c Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations, 6d Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

How will it encourage long-lasting change in your classroom, school or community? (20 points)
Through this project, students will increase their knowledge of marine science and wildlife conservation, while also passing this knowledge on to elementary students. Additionally, as another project we will be using the photographs and information gathered at the Whitney Labs, to participate in a citizen science project through MatBio. Students will help expand MatBio’s research database by uploading their images, organism information, as well as the GPS coordinates where they found their organism. This information is used by scientists to study the Matanzas Basin, which is part of our community.

How will technology be utilized?  (20 points)
Technology will be utilized throughout this project, beginning with the 360 cameras students will use to take pictures and video footage of organisms during their trip to Whitney labs. These images and clips will be used to create virtual tours in Google Expeditions which will be viewed by elementary students with VR Headsets. Additionally, students will conduct research on their laptops, collect data, and present it using an online infographic tool. Students will also use a graphic design or word processing program to create the template for the animal trading cards, and will use technology to upload their images and organism information into the MatBio database to be compared with data from other citizen scientists.

What evidence will you collect to show student gain?   (10 points)
Student gains will be measured through standards-based pre and post tests. Additionally, their projects will be measured using a rubric-based performance assessment.

How will participants share your project results with the community?  (15 points)
As part of this project, we will be sharing with Wadsworth Elementary students as well as with community scientists in the MatBio database. Additionally, our project will be shared with our district Public Relations department and local news sources.


Service/ Item Description Cost
Whitney Labs Field Trip and transportation $1,000
Trading Cards Printing $100.00
Ricoh Theta 360 Cameras (Qty: 2) $340.00
Underwater Cameras (Qty: 3) $270.00
Aquarium Supplies $1,290.00
Total Cost of Project $3,000.00
If matching funds identified list source:
Donated Goods/Services:

I, Michelle Coolican, certify that the application is complete and final, AND I verify that I have received permission to apply for these funds from Robert Bossardet,the Principal of Buddy Taylor Middle School and any other individuals required by my school district.