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The Da Vinci Science Center announced today that it has received a grant of $45,000 from PPL Foundation to support the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest® and themed exhibit experiences in the Science Center’s maker space, Leo’s Creativity Studio.
“PPL is committed to supporting STEM programs throughout our service territory, especially when they are presented to students in new and exciting manners,” said Carol Obando-Derstine, regional affairs director for PPL Electric Utilities. “We believe in the work of Da Vinci Science Center and their commitment to bringing science to life and lives to science in entertaining and interactive ways for young people.”
PPL Foundation’s generous support will allow fourth grade students at Central Elementary School to participate in the Rube Goldberg Machine Contest® (RGMC®) and themed programs. All Allentown School District (ASD) schools will participate in the hands-on programs, which pair Science Center Educators with teachers at ASD. The RGMC® will allow teachers to enhance their ability to do project-based learning in their classrooms. Each school within ASD will hold a contest to determine who will compete at the regional RGMC® at Da Vinci Science Center in February. From there, three teams will have a chance to move on to the national contest in Indiana in April.
During the contest, students will compete using Rube Goldberg Machines® they create in a fun and competitive forum that encourages STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) knowledge, teamwork, and out-of-the-box problem-solving. This year’s contest task is to ‘Turn Off a Light’.
The grant will also help to fund open-ended creative opportunities in Leo’s Creativity Studio, a maker space experience at Da Vinci Science Center. Students and visitors will explore cause-and-effect relationships using common objects and materials. These activities promote large-group participation and teamwork to set and accomplish goals. These new experiences in Leo’s Creativity Studio will open on Feb. 12 and run through May 22, 2020. All ASD fourth grade students will have the opportunity to visit Da Vinci Science Center on a field trip to experience these themed exhibits.
“We are incredibly grateful to PPL Foundation for their continued support of Da Vinci Science Center and STEM education,” said Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of Da Vinci Science Center. “The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest® and hands-on programs will allow students to unlock their potential as scientists and engineers, and to apply what they learn both in and out of the classroom, gaining critical skills for STEM careers and for life.”
Research demonstrates that using a project-based learning approach like the RGMC® has positive results for students in science and math subjects. The objective is to collaborate with teachers to increase student core content knowledge, STEM skills, and college and career readiness.
The RGMC® will be held at Da Vinci Science Center on Feb. 28, 2020, for ASD schools.
This project is part of a comprehensive STEAM program in ASD Elementary Schools funded by The Century Fund. Additional support for ASD teacher professional development and themed programs is provided by Harry C. Trexler Trust and Bosch Community Fund.
About Da Vinci Science Center
The Da Vinci Science Center is a national award-winning science center that has brought science to life and lives to science since 1992. Da Vinci Science Center experiences make science fun and approachable, helping to connect people of all ages and backgrounds with the wonders of science. An independent nonprofit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) status, the Da Vinci Science Center engages more than 150,000 participants annually with its exhibits, programs, events, and partnerships.
About PPL Foundation
Through strategic partnerships, the PPL Foundation will support organizations that are working to create vibrant, sustainable communities and empowering each citizen to fulfill her or his potential. The PPL Foundation contributes more than $3 million annually to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.pplcares.com.