At Poudre Valley REA, we believe in supporting education in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) for classrooms across our service territory.
Our Empower Grant Program provides funding for STEAM projects every year, and we were thrilled to visit one of this year’s grant winners, Noah Walsh, an Engineering and Technology teacher from Roosevelt High School.
Noah will be using his grant to purchase Solid Professor, an online CAD curriculum platform featuring lessons on Solidworks, Inventor, and Fusion 360. This program helps 10th through 12th graders in two classes prepare for their Autodesk Fusion 360 Certified User Exam.
“Students who pass this Fusion 360 exam will earn an industry-level certificate, allowing them to potentially enter the workforce right out of high school,” said Noah. “The Solid Professor curriculum will enhance student learning, and it will ensure students are well prepared to earn industry-level certificates.”
This curriculum benefits students in a variety of ways. It will set them apart, as they’ll have a deeper understanding of 3D drafting and modeling. It allows for the freedom to learn at their own pace, choosing a pathway that fits their needs best. And if at least four of the 27 students pass, the school will receive additional funding from the state, meaning the grant will continue to give year after year. With a current goal of 75% of eligible students for the Fusion 360 Certified User Certificate passing, this goal is easily obtainable.
With the platform, students can plan, create, and see their designs come to life. They start off by sketching and designing multiple versions of their design and then transferring their drawings into the Solid Professor program. From there, the students test and refine their designs, as the program helps guide them on functionality, errors, and ways to improve. As they finalize designs, they then make their design tangible using a 3D printer, laser cutter, or physical construction.
“We are very appreciative of this grant from Poudre Valley REA,” Noah said. “It offers the tools for students to become more independent thinkers and guide them to success.”
By providing grants like these, your cooperative hopes to encourage more creative thinking in our community and support the next generation of STEAM professionals.
STEAM grant applications are open! Up to $2,000 is available per classroom project & teachers can acquire funding to help support classroom projects focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. To learn more about the Empower Grant Program and to apply, visit our Empower Grant Program page.