through Contributed content January 24, 2022
This year, the Jeanie Ritchie Innovation Grants (JRG) from the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation is funding 22 new programs across the five school sites and the Early Learning Center. This unique program offers more than $35,000 to teachers in the district who want to test a new idea in their classroom. It’s a way for teachers to think outside the box with the financial support to buy supplies, bring in guest speakers, and try new hands-on activities.
One of this year’s JRG winners is Leo Schneiderman, a Grade 6 science teacher at Hillview. Working alongside teachers Julie Hilborn and Arion Espinoza, their Making Cell Anatomy and Physiology Come Alive project aims to improve students’ understanding of 6th grade science standards through the use of models and hands-on puzzles. Through JRG-funded models and puzzles, students were able to visualize in three dimensions the structure of the body system and how each system works and interacts with each other.
The models also allow students to practice the skill of seeing 3D images and comparing them with 2D images in their books, drawings and on their iPads. The students were able to work in teams to connect the parts of the models together in order to identify the different structures and functions. This grant has impacted all 6th grade science students at Hillview.
“This grant was a great success because it allowed students to dive deeper into learning, enjoy the learning process, and provide greater opportunity for hands-on collaboration for students,” said Ms. Schneiderman.