In the constant quest for authentic project ideas and contexts, one potential direction is the use of grants. Despite challenges in public education funding, there are always numerous small-medium sized grants floating around the educational world. Often, teachers simply don't have the time to set aside to pursue these grants, or they "need something now" and can't wait until the grant kicks in to begin the project.
What if writing the grant WAS the project? In purusing the wonderful set of Grant Resources our good friends at Edworks put together on their Facebook page, I ran across several that would not only fund great projects, but that the grant application process itself could be an opportunity for a great scenario as well.
Verizon Innovative APP Challenge - "provides the opportunity for middle school and high school students,
working with a faculty advisor, to use their STEM knowledge, their
ingenuity, and their creativity to come up with an original mobile app
concept that incorporates STEM and addresses a need or problem in their
school or community." $10,000 for school plus Samsung Galaxy Tab phones for winning team!
Lowes Toolbox for Education Grant - looking for a great "space design" project for geometry? Why not connect it to the grant and make it happen?
InventTeams -Looking at a Global Challenge? Now you can fund your solution! "InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors that
receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to
real-world problems. Each InvenTeam chooses its own problem to solve."
Disaster Relief Grants - many classes and schools have responded to and been impacted by recent natural disasters. This grant program could allow you to channel awareness raising and concern to a project context and funding to make a difference.
Sodexo Foundation - Taking Hunger Personally - several New Tech schools have done projects on Global Food Security. Sodexo has a grant that aligns with Global Youth Service Day.
Got more ideas - post them below or hit me up on Twitter @edutwitt