Nissan, Business Education Partnership award 43 minigrants to teachers for innovative classroom projects

Dec 09, 2019 at 11:00 am by bepfoundation

Business Education Partnership minigrants

Melody Todd has a successful history of winning minigrants from the Nissan / Business Education Partnership program. 

She estimates she has won at least 15 in the past, and earlier this week, she won two more for classroom projects that encourage students to get hands-on. 

Todd, a fourth-grade teacher at Stewarts Creek Elementary School, was one of 11 teachers from the school who won a grant through the program for next semester. Stewarts Creek won more than any other school, with 13 grants, out of more than 40 that were awarded to various schools. 

Using one of her grants, Todd will work with students on a project called "Tulane STEM Techs," which will use the book "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Toulane." 

"I always tie-in a bazillion (English Language Arts) skills with it and get my kids really involved with the book and encourage that level of reading,"  Todd said. "And then we do STEM projects throughout and bring in science, technology, tons of math — as much cross-curricular as I can possibly do."

Twice each year, Nissan and the Business Education Partnership accept applications from teachers who want to offer a special program for students. The projects are intended to foster creativity and excitement, to help cultivate fun learning activities for students. 

A full list of winners for the spring semester is included below. 

When asked the secret to grant success at Stewarts Creek, Principal Tina Turner said it's all about collaboration.

Knowing Todd's history of winning multiple grants in the past, Turner formed a grant-writing committee and put Todd in charge of it. 

"She was winning year after year, and so I told her, 'Here's what we're going to do. We're going to have a committee and you're going to be the head of it because you know how to get this done,'" Turner said.

The committee meets throughout the year to brainstorm ideas and the teachers apply for all kinds of grants, not only those offered by the Business Education Partnership, Todd said. 

"We always meet together in the computer lab and I try to encourage someone to come up with an idea, and then we can just build from there," Todd said.

She encourages her fellow teachers to make the proposed projects interactive and to include as many academic subjects as possible. 

"Just touch on as many aspects as you can," Todd advised. "Get students involved. "

The Business Education Partnership and Nissan have been offering the mini-grant program since 1988. Multiple students throughout the county have been impacted by the program, BEP Executive Director Amelia Bozeman  said.

"Nissan's support has sown seeds of knowledge, inspiring many thousands of students over the years through these mini-grant awards," Bozeman said. 

For the spring semester, more than 90 proposals were submitted by teachers with Rutherford County Schools and Murfreesboro City Schools. 

This list of winners follows.  


School Name

Name of Project

Christi Brownlee

Barfield Elementary

"Mathmagical" Math Stackers

Kelsey Bergeron

Barfield Elementary

Kindergarten Comes to Our Senses

Sheila Berry

Barfield Elementary

All in the eyes of the beholder

Tim Carey

Barfield Elementary

Dash and Dot Wonder Workshop

Tammy Pirtle

Black Fox Elementary

Gardening In The Classroom

Rachel Prater

Christiana Elementary

Think Fun! Think Smart!

Shannon Ingram and Karen Lemmon

Christiana Elementary School

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Teresa Jones

Christiana Elementary School

3-Dimensional Math

Heather Keweza

David Youree Elementary

Breakout of the Ordinary

Heather Keweza

David Youree Elementary

STEM through the Morning

Angela Bunyi

Discovery School at Bellwood

Enhancing Robotics and the Engineering Design Process through Cubelets

Megan Ferens

Eagleville School

Question, Question, Question About It!

Angela Pope

Erma Siegel Elementary

We Put the Team in STEAM

Angela Pope

Erma Siegel Elementary

Did You Say Robot?

Emily Clark

Erma Siegel Elementary

Ladibug, Ladibug, Show me the Way: Using a Ladibug Document Camera to Bring Learning to Life

Gretchen Campbell

Erma Siegel Elementary

Building Big with Rigamajigs

Gretchen Campbell

Erma Siegel Elementary

Coding with MaKey MaKey

Kim Taylor

Erma Siegel Elementary

Bee Bots

Craig Nelius

John Pittard Elementary

The Little Engineer Who Could

Stephanie West & Suzanne St. John

John Pittard Elementary

Coding for Our Future

Jessica Bloom

Kittrell Elementary

To Books....And Beyond

Jessica Bloom

Kittrell Elementary School

Not All Who Wonder Are Lost: An Adventure in Geocaching

Jo Lyn McWhorter

Kittrell Elementary School

SPRK a Love for STEM

Jo Lyn McWhorter

Lascassas Elementary

Makey Makey, Fun, Fun!

Anna Sledge

McFadden School of Excellence

To STEMfinity and Beyond!

Sarah Golden

Mitchell-Neilson Schools

Ukuleles? Hooray!

Felicia Jackson

Overall Creek Elementary

Snapped on Learning:  Learning with a Snap

Christy Higgins

Rock Springs Elementary

OSMO - Outstanding Students Moving Onward

Debbie Reyes

Rocky Fork Elementary

"Signing" Up for Learning & Fun!

Tansy Raynor

Rocky Fork Elementary

Move Your Body, Move Your Brain!

Heidi Redmon

Smyrna Elementary School

"The Energy Challenge"

Amber Morton

Smyrna Primary School

Cooking for Learning

Angeline Restrepo Hale

Smyrna Primary School

Building Brains with Literacy and STEAM BINS

Hayley Ellis

Stewarts Creek Elementary

Lego Chain Reactions

Jennifer Lane

Stewarts Creek Elementary

Unlocking the Code to Holocaust History

Jennifer Lane

Stewarts Creek Elementary

Olympic Medal Ready for the TN Ready

Kelsey Dunn

Stewarts Creek Elementary

One Fish, Two Fish, STEM Fish, TREE fish

Laura Kiilerich Bowles

Stewarts Creek Elementary

Here We Go Loopty-Loo, Shapes are a Wonderful Ride!

Melanie Strickland

Stewarts Creek Elementary

I'm Gonna Take My Robot to the Old Town Road and Code 'til I Can't No More!

Melanie Strickland

Stewarts Creek Elementary

Hey Mr. Roboto!

Vickie Stem

Stewarts Creek Elementary

Teeny Tiny Indestructible Tardigrades

Brittany Breard

Stewarts Creek Elementary

"Escaping" the Average Classroom

Melody Todd

Stewarts Creek Elementary

Tulane STEM Techs

Melody Todd

Stewarts Creek Elementary

I Spy a Structure Transformation

Sarah Parker

Stewarts Creek Elementary

Forceful Flying Machines

Bethany Rader, Robin DeSalvatore

Stewarts Creek Elementary School

Busy Bee Morning STEM Bins

Wanda Jones

Stewartsboro Elementary

Making and Tinkering with STEM for prescoolers

Jennifer Buttrey

Thurman Francis Arts Academy

I Wonder, I Code

Amy O Grisham

Walter Hill Elementary

Breakout Box

Heather Eskridge

Walter Hill Elementary

Wild About Reading Robots

Joyce Hildebrandt

Walter Hill Elementary

Curious about Cubelets

Lindsey Stephens

Walter Hill Elementary

STEM Fun for First Graders!

Ashley Pennington

Walter Hill School

Toolboxes for Constructing Math Concepts

Beth Y Hobbs

Walter Hill School

Keyboarding for Pre-K

Kristy Parker

Walter Hill School

Story Book Stem



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