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Grant funds help purchase STEM carts for Lawrence school district

Lawrence Township Education Foundation (LTEF logo)

Recent grant funds will bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM carts to more elementary schools in Lawrence.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in New York contributed $23,087 to the non-profit Lawrence Township Education Foundation, which in turn gave it to the school district.

The district plans to use the funds to purchase STEM carts for Lawrenceville Elementary School, the Eldridge Park School and the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.

In 2020, the pharmaceutical company donated funds to buy and equip a STEM cart for the Slackwood Elementary School, said Karen Faiman, the executive director of the Lawrence Township Education Foundation.

Because of its popularity, the Lawrence Township Education Foundation decided to apply for a grant to expand the program, she said.

The STEM cart includes bins filled with construction material, circuits, robotics, project-based design materials and low-tech items such as cardboard, duct tape, string and glue. The contents allow for limitless innovation, Faiman said.

“It’s an amazing thing to watch. The students love it,” she said.

For many students, the STEM cart represents the first time they have had a chance to work with STEM material, Faiman said.

Each STEM cart will provide students with opportunities to generate creative ideas and to also strengthen their science, technology, engineering and math skills, she said. The carts will be located in the schools’ media or library centers.

Students have used the materials to create a wide range of STEM projects – from a rubber band race to an electromagnetic crane, hovercraft, electronic circuits and a weather station.

“The goal is to help engage, inspire and motivate every student to problem solve, while at the same time fueling their creativity and curiosity,” Faiman said.

The Lawrence Township Education Foundation raises money from individuals, local businesses, corporations and foundations to provide grants for teachers. It has approved more than 1,000 grants, totaling more than $4 million, since its inception in 1992.

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