LANSING, Mich.—The MiSTEM Network announced it will fund $100,000 in grants ($10,000 each) to STEM educators for usability testing of MiSTEM Playbooks that include real-world examples, advice, resources and best practices created by teachers, for teachers, needed to bring STEM learning to life – and cultivate our future workforce. The pilot grant opportunity will help the MiSTEM Network learn from schools and districts that have implemented STEM education using problem-, place- and project-based (3-P learning) approaches in Michigan K-12 classrooms.

MiSTEM will work with the grantees’ to model successful implementation of 3-P learning in schools based on their feedback.

3-P learning models allow for the coexistence of student and community voice and choice and intentionally incorporate career exploration opportunities. While these efforts tend to exist in elective, extracurricular or out-of-school programming for youth, MiSTEM advocates that the formal system needs to support a shift toward this approach.

“This funding opportunity is another example of how the MiSTEM Network continues to work collaboratively with partners all over the state to drive implementation and improvements in STEM learning opportunities,” said Megan Schrauben, MiSTEM Network Executive Director. “MiSTEM has an opportunity and responsibility to help districts shift to using 3-P practices that allow for a more accessible and flexible learning experience to meet the changing needs of students and communities across our state and better prepare more Michigan students for career success in our rapidly changing economy.”

Recent changes to traditional norms and basic classroom structures that organize public education have been upended due to the pandemic. MiSTEM seeks to cultivate a STEM culture in K-12 classrooms by engaging with local communities, creating collaborative partnerships with business, industry and nonprofits, and engaging families to support a student-centered 3-P learning approach.

This funding opportunity seeks to identify, highlight and learn from those schools and communities that have already made these important shifts. Several educational leaders have already worked with MiSTEM on various efforts to build awareness of 3-P learning opportunities across our state through the local efforts that they have grown.

“I highly encourage instructional leaders in every school and district to explore options for meaningful 3-P learning opportunities for all students by taking advantage of this funding opportunity,” said Jeffrey Collier, Superintendent of Saginaw Intermediate School District. “I was able to witness first-hand the incredibly positive and dynamic transformations that occurred as a result, including learning opportunities that occurred for our students, creative engagement for our instructors, an extensive development of outside learning partners and rich community collaboration and support. There has never been a better time than right now to implement 3P learning for your students.”

“When our students have the opportunity to make a difference in their world, they become much more engaged in learning. The high quality 3-P learning experience our students benefit from is made possible with continuous support and resources provided through MiSTEM funding,” said Jerry Holtgren, Director of Niles New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy and one of the schools that received a Student to Stewards award to begin development of the current playbooks.

Funding Opportunity

The MiSTEM Playbook Pilot Funding Opportunity is a two-step competitive process:

  • Request for Proposal – Applicants submit application.
  • Invitation to Present – ONLY Applicants selected for further consideration will be invited to deliver a Pitch Presentation to the MiSTEM Reviewers.

This 20-minute “Shark Tank-Inspired Education Experience” is a virtual session for the MiSTEM Reviewers to hear firsthand applicants’ innovative school practices with 3-P learning.

Award Information

  • Awards are $10,000 each for June 2021-July 2022.
  • Applicants will be evaluated on readiness and feasibility for completion within the designated timeline.
  • Geographic and demographic diversity will be a consideration in awarding funds.

Applications are accepted through April 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. EST. Applicants are encouraged to visit www.michigan.gov/MiSTEM to learn more and apply.