Offering more than 250 interactive exhibits, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum attracts over 280,000 visitors annually who discover the wonder of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. ITC Holdings recently awarded the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum a grant to support the Discover Science Assistance Fund, a scholarship program for resource-challenged schools across the state of Michigan. The Discover Science Assistance Fund provides access to Museum education programs, all of which align with State of Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and Next Generation Science Standards, in schools where 50% or more of the students receive free and reduced price lunch.
“We are a STEM Academy so this visit fits in perfectly with our curriculum. We are from River Rouge school district and a lot of our students do not have the necessary resources to afford a bus to come out. This was very beneficial to have the extra money to visit and not to place a burden on the parents to provide that money,” said Harold Berry, a teacher at River Rouge STEM Academy.
The Discover Science Assistance Fund was established in response to requests from schools and groups who wanted to visit the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, but did not have the resources to pay for field trips.
“Inside of a classroom, especially as a science teacher, it is difficult to have the money to provide the tools that children need to learn in the classroom. When I bring my class here, they can see what we have talked about in class and actually experience it,” said Cynthia Banks-Anderzejak, Science and Math teacher, River Rouge STEM Academy. The Fund was recently expanded to include subsidies for outreach programs at schools. “[The Discover Science Assistance Fund] has helped us out because over 90% of our students are free or reduced lunch so they do not have the economic means to come here. I brought almost 50 students today, I’m sure that I would have only been able to bring half of them if there was not any assistance,” said Banks-Anderzejak.
“Teachers know the importance of supplementing classroom learning as a way to excite their students about STEaM topics,” said Mel Drumm, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum executive director. “Funders like ITC Holdings help to fill in the resource gap for schools that need subsidies to visit the Museum or who request support for a Museum outreach program onsite.”