Loudon County Education Foundation awarded four local teachers who will share $5,000 as part of the Tate & Lyle Math and Science Grant.
Michele Lewis, LCEF executive director, said the total amount Tate & Lyle gave this year was $15,000, with $5,000 funding other programs in the LCEF and $10,000 designated for funding grants.
Applicants must meet criteria enforced by a volunteer panel of LCEF board members, she said.
"The recipients are only limited to the amount we have of available funding," Lewis said. "All of the applications met the criteria, but based on limited funding the committee had to choose which projects to fund. Because all of the requests were wonderful projects, the foundation is currently looking for other funding sources to complete these requests."
Patrick Bethel, an eighth-grade math teacher at Philadelphia Elementary School, said the school applied for the grant July 29 to help fund its math academy.
Bethel said the school previously tried getting donations to cover the academic program's costs. The school was unable to do everything it wanted last year, earning just $2,000, he said. With this grant, the school now has $2,500.
"Well, this is — we actually tried this last year and so this is actually our second year," Bethel said of the math academy. "So last year we had to do a lot of fundraising and stuff to help cover the costs. So with this grant, basically it gives us the opportunity to have more resources for students, and more resources means better equipping our kids."
According to the LCEF Tate & Lyle Grant application, applicants must use the funding for math or science projects that go "above and beyond the normal classroom experience and have no readily available source of public funding." It must also be a student-initiated project that the teacher administers.
With $300 received from the grant, Tami Fedor, a second-grade teacher at Lenoir City Elementary School, said she was able to buy three sets of math games from Frog Publications. Fedor said the games would assist with 60-minute math workstations used to enrich and remediate students.
"I was so excited because it really — I have a set of them for my reading instruction and they're all very positive games," Fedor said. "I mean, like a lot of the games you have to go backward and this, that and the other. They're all very positive and the kids love them."
Fedor said the grant allowed her to buy games that complemented second- and third-grade skills. The games also let students work in small groups without Fedor, allowing her to determine where each child needed to improve.
By receiving $2,200 from the grant, Lenoir City High School teachers Lynlee Sims and Christine Haire hope to bring a little bit of science and engineering into their Algebra 2 classes.
Sims planned to buy temperature probes and motion detectors to help students apply math skills to real world situations. She said her classroom would do an experiment with a baked potato, using it to simulate a dead body since it cools off. By determining the exponential curve of the baked potato, students would ideally be able to determine when a person died.
"One thing about our Algebra 2 students now that's required for every student, and the question that most kids ask is 'Where am I going to use this?'," Sims said. "And with these devices we're going to be able to show them, you know, some examples, like I said, the forensic science or other applications so that they can see real world situations where this can be used."
The Tate & Lyle plant in Loudon, employing 300 people, makes numerous food and industrial ingredients from corn.