CTE Makeover Challenge Proposal
I recently helped submit a proposal for the U.S. Department of Education’s CTE Makeover Challenge. The challenge called for high schools to design CTE focused makerspaces to give students the tools and space to create, tinker, invent and explore. There were over 600 eligible applicants to the challenge competing for 10 – $20,ooo prizes. The submissions are currently being judged and will be announced this month.
Unfortunately, after rereading our submission, I can tell the vision of our proposal didn’t quite come across. As the primary writer of the proposal, the fault is all mine. I’ve struggled writing large formal grants and need to improve the quality of the writing and spend more time editing and seeking peer advice. Below are some highlights from the proposal.
Before photo of the proposed makerspace.
Floor plan of the proposed makerspace.
Latest maker cart prototype. (See previous version here.)
Learning Through Making
Our school district’s recent One to the World initiative challenges students to create and share products, performances, services and exhibitions of work relating to authentic problems and tasks of the world. One to the World work must tie directly to the curriculum.
The CTE Makeover Challenge enables the creation of the perfect learning environment for this initiative. Instead of a CTE technology education program based on a static computer based system, students will be engaged in designing and prototyping authentic products for the world. CTE business and marketing classes will use the makerspace for infusing entrepreneurship based units involving product development into their instruction.
The shift in the school district vision creates a need for teachers to incorporate hands-on project based learning into their classes. Regular classrooms are limited in the tools and materials they can offer students. The makerspace and maker carts will provide the resources to create real world solutions.
A Dominion world history class is currently piloting a maker project to address the UN sustainable development goals. These goals present the most important challenges facing the world today such as poverty, climate change, education and inequality. Students are studying the history of these problems and then designing and prototyping human scale solutions. These students are using a prototype of a maker cart with loaned equipment. The makerspace will expand the options available to this class.
Another example is a calculus class that will use digital fabrication tools in the makerspace to explore revolutions of solids.
Typical Day in the Life
8 am: A zero period English 11 class starts the day in the makerspace working on researching and creating historical markers. Zero period class meets before the normal school day allowing students more scheduling options.
9-10:30: A 10th grade technology education class continues prototyping energy efficient car designs.
11-12:30: A 9th grade social science class rotates into the makerspace to start a 2 week project on the technology revolution. An art teacher checks out the maker cart for an AP art mixed media project.
1-2:30: 12th grade technology education students work on independent portfolio projects and assist a team from business class prototyping a new product.
2:30-4: An ELL class develops literacy skills through a hands on making unit. Student develop text and spoken language skills learning to use the making maker tools.
4-5:30 PM: The robotics club iterates their design for a competition. Students prototype and fabricate new parts.
6-7 PM: Sports marketing students showcase new products designed in the makerspace before the football game.
If you want to sponsor this makerspace concept or have suggestions for how to improve this proposal or how to improve grant writing skills, please leave a comment or contact me on Twitter @DesignMakeTeach.
I love your blog posts. They are authentic, interesting, and filled with relevant info. Keep up the great work!! Also, grant writing is an art so don’t be too hard on yourself. It will only get better, keep trying.
Thanks Amy. I appreciate your taking time to reply. Trying to be reflective and identify where I need to improve. Unfortunately, there isn’t any feedback on the grants so it makes it hard to identify specific weaknesses.
All the best.
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