TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – More than $26,000 has been awarded to 10 Magic Valley education groups by the Idaho STEM Action Center.

The money comes from PK 12 grants to education professionals and organizations. In all, more than a $250,000 has been awarded to groups across the Gem State.

The Magic Valley groups awarded include:

Burley High School
Castleford School District
Dietrich School District
Hagerman Public Library
Kimberly High School
Kimberly Middle School
Murtaugh Joint School District
Newcomer Center & Dworshak Elementary School
Shoshone Public Library
Twin Falls School District

"The hands-on, project-based activities the STEM Action Center's grants enable will engage and inspire the scientists, engineers, and technicians of tomorrow," Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said in a prepared statement. "Experiential learning efforts like these are critical to building Idaho's future workforce."

According to the news release:

The grants provide recipients, such as kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers, libraries and out-of-school organizations, with up to $2,500 each to fund innovative science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer-science projects.

Approved projects range from electronics and robotics, drones and solar cars, and anatomy and physiology equipment like microscopes and plastic models to water-quality testing kits for analyzing fish habitats, camera trap systems for studying birds and mammals, and augmented reality systems to explore earth sciences concepts.

“STEM knowledge and skills are important to the future of Idaho's economy and long-term prosperity,” said Angela Hemingway, the center's executive director. "STEM-related jobs pay well in Idaho, and for each new STEM job five more jobs are created.

“The experiential learning that occurs in these types of STEM activities promotes creative thinking, problem solving, and collaboration – skills even students who don't pursue STEM careers will find valuable.”

This is the first round of the grant awards the STEM Action Center has announced this fiscal year, which began July 1. During the 2016 fiscal year, the center delivered another $250,000 to individuals and organizations to fund STEM efforts, including professional development opportunities for educators and robotics and 3D design and fabrication competitions.

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