Moffat Family Charitable Trust Grant Benefits Scranton Elementary Students

Johnson College received an $8,991.00 grant from The Robert Y. Moffat Family Charitable Trust to be used for a STEM Outreach Expansion Project. The goal of the project is to bring science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to school-aged children in Northeast Pennsylvania.

The College hosted a workshop at McNichols Plaza Elementary on Wednesday, January 10th to utilize a portion of the STEM materials they were able to purchase through the grant. As a part of the McNichols Plaza STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) Night series, Johnson College staff facilitated the use of littleBits with children in 3rd to 5th grade and their parents.

The inventive kits are explained on their website as, “Kits composed of electronic building blocks that are color-coded, magnetic, and make complex technology simple and fun. Together they’re interchangeable in millions of different ways to empower kids to invent anything.” Using directional cards, and guidance from staff and parents, students created circuits similar to flipping a light switch, ringing a doorbell and controlling volume on a radio. Each combination of circuits produces a different outcome and has a real-world application for young children to understand. All of the directions and pieces to the kits are kid friendly with bright colors and describing words to guide the activity.

Amanda Montoro, a teacher at McNichols Plaza, was excited to welcome Johnson College to the school. The elementary school recently received a grant from Race to the Top for Education that focuses on parent involvement, which inspired STEAM Night. “Our love of STEAM education led us to develop a plan of having 4 STEAM Nights this year where parents could come out with their children and experience STEAM for themselves.  Any time we can collaborate with families, the children always benefit.” She emphasized the importance for STEAM experiences for elementary aged children and how the school will incorporate all grades through this programming this year. “STEAM programming is important for children of all ages.  The reason we have divided the grades this month is that students in grades 3-5 are a bit more independent and can handle different types of activities than students in the younger grades.  We plan to have another STEAM night for grades PreK-2nd in a couple weeks. STEAM programming promotes problem solving skills and higher levels of thinking for all students.  Our hope is that with more STEAM programs, our students will become independent thinkers and will not rely on others to tell them what to do or how to solve problems in their everyday lives. ”

“STEM careers are in-demand, and students can learn about the newest technology with help from Johnson College staff and the support of the Robert Y. Moffat Family Charitable Trust,” said Tracey Pratt, Manager of Development at Johnson College. “Our goal is to have local students become familiar with STEM at a young age and find value in these principles so they can better understand career opportunities and goals throughout elementary and into high school. Of course, we also want students and teachers to become aware of the technical education opportunities available at Johnson College.”

For more information, or to inquire about having a STEM activity at your school, please contact:

Tracey Pratt
Manager of Development