West Middle School Receives STEM Grant From Toshiba America Foundation For $7,090

February 1, 2018


Contact: Melissa Fears, Director of Communications and Marketing (913) 279-2225

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools is pleased to announce West Middle School, 2600 N. 44th Street, has been awarded a $7,090 STEM grant from the Toshiba America Foundation (TAF). These funds will support the purchase of two MakerBot Replicator 3D printers for use with an innovative classroom project to explore the Mars environment and what is needed for survival on the planet. Representatives from Toshiba American Foundation will present the check to West Middle School’s Academic Enrichment Teacher Rachael McIlvain, students and staff on Friday, Friday, February 2 at 8:30 a.m. in the school’s library.

“Thank you to Toshiba for the grant to purchase the 3D printers, which will enhance the way we teach and enrich learning opportunities for our students today and well into the future,” said McIlvain. She is one of only 11 teachers in the United States to receive the award.

The classroom project involves students reading through passages of the book, “The Martian” for inspiration. Next, students will explore what is needed to survive on Mars as well as the environment surrounding the planet and challenges one would face there. Students will work in teams to design different portions of a living habitat. After testing models of their habitat, students will be asked to create a mini model of their habitat portion in order to complete a single habitat for final evaluation.  The 3D printer will be used to create the mini models of the living habitats.

Toshiba America Foundation’s grants fund projects designed by individual classroom teachers. This “direct-to-teacher” approach brings immediate results. Teachers are able to change the way they teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects because the grant supports equipment for hands-on experiments and inquiry-based approaches to the curriculum. TAF believes that STEM is a lot more fun than just reading a textbook. TAF grants provide teachers with the tools they need to be more effective educators. The grants make the classroom a more exciting place for both teachers and students.