MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Precision mattered when eighth-grade classmates Sullivan Moydell and Jessica Ingram marked a PVC pipe.

They had to know exactly where to drill holes for assembling an underwater robot, Seaperch.

Their teacher, Chris Staton, purchased Seaperch kits through grants from the Fort Gibson Education Foundation. 

Fort Gibson Middle School teachers received five Education Foundation grants, Principal Carrie Willis said. 

Staton, who teaches Mathcounts/STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and Mathcounts, bought kits for drones, as well as undersea robots. Grant money also helped fund tools to help put the projects together.

"They're learning to even use drills and vice grips they've never used before either," she said.

Staton's students spent Friday drilling the PVC pipes. They also practiced soldering electronic boards so they can put the motors together.

Eighth-grader Jonathan Gifford said said the Seaperch units move by rotary-based motors.

Staton said the Seaperch can be programmed to go through hoops and get things underwater.

English teacher Hannah Newton said she used her grant money to purchase the set of historical novels, "The Book Thief."

Newton said the book is about a girl in Nazi-controlled Germany who steals banned books.

"This book is definitely different in terms of the style," she said. "Just reading it has a different setup."

She said she hopes her students learn moral themes, such as treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany.  She also sees a writing lesson with the book.

"My goal is that they would be able to take some of the literary concepts and be able to apply it to their own writing," Newton said. 

Katrina White, who teaches western geography, spent her grant money for 30 issues of Junior Scholastic, a monthly current events magazine.

"It's about reading comprehension, also," White said. "It all based on current events and things that are going on today. It also has activities built into it online and paper activities. It just keeps them up to date."

The magazine helps students with their state-mandated tests, as well, she said.

"You read the articles and you have to go back and find the pertinent information," White said.

Sixth-grade English teacher Lorry Wilkie received three class sets of the novel "Front Desk." 

"We're doing a novel study in class, and the kids are loving it," Wilkie said. "This particular book deals with immigration. We've done some cross-curricular activities with the social studies classes along with this book, and it's worked really nicely."

White said, "We were teaching about immigration right when they were reading it."

Coach Scott Lowe received a nine-square game grid for his physical education class, Willis said.


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