Tips for Writing a Great Grant

Applying for grants is a great way to get extra funds for a big project, program, or set of helpful materials. The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation has two grant programs; one specifically for classroom teachers, and one for groups or organizations that are looking to educate others.

The former, the Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant, is now open and accepting applications. Pre-k through 12th grade teachers are eligible to apply for this grant before January 9, 2019. Grants will be awarded for up to $200 to help teachers include agriculture in science, social studies, language arts, and math lessons. Funds can be used for many things, including books, kits, seeds, field trips, guest speakers, and more!

Though this application is a relatively simple one, there are some ways you can make your application go from good to great. Let’s go through a couple tips to help you fund your class’s next great experience.

Be clear and concise

If you’re starting a new program, it may be difficult to pin down exactly how everything will go. There are so many ways a program can happen that choosing a direction early on can be hard. However, when applying for grant funding, having this direction helps funders get an idea what program will be, and also lets them know you are well organized and will follow up with these goals.

How will the money help you reach educational goals?

This piece can be tricky. There are many educational programs that sound great. However, if the item being asked for seems unrelated, the grant proposal may get a low score. If you’re asking for a material that is not clearly related, be sure to outline its purpose in your proposal. How does the item directly relate to the lesson or educational outcome? How will this help your students learn? Items like T-shirts, snacks, or other things may not impact educational goals, and will likely not get high scores.

Describe the materials specifically

At the end of the day, grants help purchase materials. Your grant funders will be more likely to fund your project if the items you’re asking for are outlined specifically. Let them know you’ve done research on impactful, high quality materials, and that this grant will really benefit many students.

Consider choosing materials with a good “shelf life”

Many great programs include different consumable products that grant funding is great for. However, grants that can help fund materials that will impact multiple years’ worth of students may get a higher score. Consider funding materials like books, lab equipment, maps, or other goods that can impact many students for years to come!

If your program is contingent on consumable goods, don’t worry! Just make sure you highlight the program’s impact, and how these consumable goods (paper plates, seeds, row markers, tape, etc.) are important.

Follow up the field trip

Field trips are great fun. However, students will get more from the experience if there are pre and post-trip lessons related to the site. If you would like to send your students on a field trip, include your plans for those follow up lessons so your grant funders know your students will get the most from the experience.

Tie history to modern day

Many great field trip locations are historical, but when talking about agriculture, it’s important to connect that historical aspect to modern agriculture. Many people, including many children’s resources, have an antiquated view of agriculture, with one cow, two chickens, a pig, and a horse in a barnyard. But few of those resources talk about how things have changed over time and into modern day. Connect that historical learning to modern agriculture by virtually visiting a modern farmer with FarmChat®, or by watching a YouTube video. This can also help the overall program connect to more social studies standards.

Explain all connections

The Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant is specifically for helping teachers integrate agriculture into science, social studies, language arts, and/or math. When applying for this grant, it’s important that you not only explain the agriculture connection, but also which Iowa Core standard it relates to. If, for instance, you’d like to include Iowa crops in your germination lesson, describe how you will explore corn and soybean germination. Explain the specific unit and how they relate, instead of using broad terms, like that you will teach about agriculture in science class.

Those reviewing and funding your grant may be able to infer how your science lesson could be related to agriculture, but it is important that you explain how you will connect your lesson to agriculture. Depth of learning in both core standards and agriculture will bode well for your application!

Be creative!

Trying something new can be fun. Take this opportunity to explore new topics and ideas, and make a great program for your students. They will love it!

Whatever it is that you’re excited about implementing, we hope you let us help by applying for an Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant. You can start your application here: https://app.wizehive.com/appform/login/IALF_TSG_2019.

Good luck!

-Chrissy

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