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Ramping Up Education with a Meemic Foundation Grant

For Ioanna Halkias, a preschool teacher at Plato Academy in Des Plaines, Ill., she knew her Ramps and Pathways program would make a difference with her students.  She just didn’t realize how much. 

Ms. Halkias applied for a Meemic Foundation grant.  She was notified prior to the beginning of this school year that she would receive $965 for the Ramps and Pathways program that she hoped would allow the children to “see themselves as scientists and … understand that science is approachable and doable!”  With the materials purchased and a few months of the program in operation, Halkias is pleased with the impact of this program to her students – and the school.

Ramps and Pathways is a physical science curriculum that also incorporates language and vocabulary as it teaches concepts such as velocity, height, distance and incline.  Students can build simple or elaborate structures for marbles to traverse. 

“It went fabulously well,” she says.  “All grade levels are using it, and it was actually just as effective for the older kids as it was for the younger kids we intended it for.”

One young class asked the teacher to leave a note on their behalf:

“Dear Big Kids,

“Thank you for building the wonderful ramps and block structures. We enjoyed them. We are sorry we couldn’t put them back the way you had them. Please build more structures! – From the Pre-K Kids”
The program is so popular, it has its own room, allowing other teachers at Plato Academy to incorporate it into their lesson plans.

“It’s been phenomenal. Kids are doing more with it. Teachers are integrating it more into their curriculums,” she ways. “I’m gushing because I’m just so happy with the way it turned out.

“The students don’t realize they’re learning the high-level concepts because they’re having a lot of fun.”
As she states in her grant application: “My goal is always to create an environment that inspires active investigation and invites children to try out their ideas.” 

It appears that exciting world of “curiosity and fascination” exists at Plato Academy!