Kearney Agencies Receive Grant for STEM Projects

Presented by: The Kearney Chamber of Commerce and the Kearney Enrichment Council.

The Kearney Chamber of Commerce and Kearney Enrichment Council collaborated on a grant to distribute STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) kit projects to students in the community. They were awarded the Building Business/Community Partnership for Afterschool Success grant in April.

Chamber Executive Director Stacie Bratcher worked with Kearney Enrichment Council Executive Director Kurt Hamilton, and applied for the grant in March.

Operations Manager Jill Clay is working directly with the program to choose the kits and distribute them to children in the community. She says the grant will be used to provide free STEM kits and projects to kids and teens this summer.

“We did little kits last year, and since we found this grant we thought we could do them bigger this year,” stated Clay. “With this grant we can get the word out about our organization, and also more kids could benefit from them.”

Clay and her team are working on selecting STEM kit projects to distribute. The kits will be connected with businesses in the community. One kit the team has chosen is the solar hotdog cooker that is made from a Pringles can. Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative has sponsored this kit because it relates to solar power as an energy resource. Other project kits Clay is considering include a pendulum that creates art, a Survivor puzzle game, and a potato shooter.

These kits are targeted towards upper elementary through high school aged students. Instructions are easy to read and follow and include pictures. The projects are fun, but they also involve learning.

“All these kits involve some aspect of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or a little of each,” said Clay. “The kits are designed to be fun without kids really thinking they are doing math or engineering.”

The STEM kits will be distributed in the middle of the summer months, with June 15 being the solar hotdog cooker project. The next two projects will be distributed on July 15 and August 15.

“The kits will be handed out in the parking lot of First Missouri Bank [455 Sam Barr Drive, Kearney], between 10 am and noon,” stated Clay. “After they go home and make their projects, kids and parents take pictures or videos of them and post them to social media with the hashtag #SparkStem4TheWin for a chance to win prizes.”

The Building Business/Community Partnership for Afterschool Success grant is funded through the Missouri AfterSchool Network, in partnership with the Missouri Chamber Foundation and the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition. The grant provided the Enrichment Council $4,900 to be used for STEM kit materials, advertising, printing, and prizes for participants. Different themed kits will be handed out for free to anyone who wants to participate.

Special thanks to KPGZ News – and Brian Watts who contributed to this story.

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