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MAKING A DIFFERENCE Associated Chaffey Teachers members Jaimie Graham (left) and Karen Montoya show off analytical balances purchased through an NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grant. Photo by student Ricky Padron NEA Grant adds substance to chemistry class JAIMIE GRAHAM teaches science at Ontario High School in Ontario, San Bernardino County. She received an NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grant. Here's her story: We are always trying to improve the laboratory investigations for our students. It is extremely important to have students experi- ence hands-on laboratory investigations and demonstrate a skill or concept they have learned about in class. Labs are a way for teachers to assess student learning and reteach, if necessary. Students are engaged, excited, willing to participate and work together as a team to do their best during labs. We decided to write this grant to expand our laboratory try laboratory activity. Most labs begin with students required to determine the mass of a substance. Analytical balances are very expensive and provide a level of accuracy and precision superior to regular electronic balances. The analytical balances allow our AP Chemistry class to experience college-level labo- ratory investigations and prepare for the AP examination. program. The grant funds were used to purchase electronic balances for our Chemistry/AP Chemistry classes and two analytical balances for our AP Chemistry classes. Electronic balances are necessary for almost every chemis- WRITING GRANTS ISN'T AS INTIMIDATING AS YOU'D THINK The NEA grant application process is very straightforward and can be completed with ease. I have found that writing 36 California Educator June/July 2012 grants may seem intimidating at first. I was always worried about my ability to write, especially being a chemistry major who avoided English classes. If you are passionate about a project in your class that will improve the education of many students, it seems to translate in your writing. There are many grants available, especially for the sciences. If you have a project in mind and the time to fill out many grant applications, put yourself out there. You might be surprised. By Jaimie Graham Grants, grants, grants! CTA UNDERSTANDS that the best way to help students learn is to help teachers teach. One resource to do that is the NEA Foundation, which funds and shares successful strategies to educate students. The best teaching methods come from educators like you and Jamie. NEA has awarded more than $8 million to fund 2,500 grants to public school educators to enhance teaching and learning. There are two grant categories: Student Achievement and Learning & Leadership. Applications for both can be completed online at

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