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:

Good luck!


6 Reasons to Apply for an Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Grant

We know that teachers are always looking for new ways to engage students, but funding for classroom resources is limited.  We have a solution!

This week we kicked off another year of the Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Supplement Program. Since 2003, teachers have utilized these grants to fund innovative lessons, classroom resources, outreach programs, field trips and more!

With funding from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation offers $200 grants to support the integration of agriculture into preschool-12th grade in-school and afterschool programs. The subject-area focus of the grant changes each year to allow a variety of projects to receive funding and encourage teachers to consider incorporate agriculture across the curriculum. This year’s focus areas are agriculture in literacy/language arts OR agriculture in social studies.

Not convinced yet, here’s a few reasons to apply:

1.  Agriculture is a topic students can easily connect with because it is all around us! Nearly everything we eat, wear, use — even the fuel that powers cars and buses — comes from plants and animals grown on farms.

2.   Agriculture provides real-world connections to Iowa Core Standards.  Teaching about agriculture in Iowa is an ideal way for students to learn what their state is all about and provide real-life connections to all subjects.

  • Tip:  On the application, be sure to specifically describe what your students will learn about agriculture through your project– not just how a topic, like Iowa history or technology, relates to agriculture.

3.  Social Studies, Social Studies, Social Studies!  Iowa recently adopted new social studies standards, and many have strong connections to agriculture!  Here’s just few examples:

-1st Grade: Describe the diverse cultural makeup of Iowa’s past and present in the local community, including indigenous and agricultural communities. (SS.1.23)

-2nd Grade: Identify how people use natural resources to produce goods and services. (SS.2.12)

-4th Grade: Explain how Iowa’s agriculture has changed over time. (SS.4.26)

-6th Grade: Explain how changes in transportation, communication, and technology influence the movement of people, goods, and ideas in various countries. (SS.6.18)

-7th Grade: Analyze the role that Iowa plays in contemporary global issues. (SS.7.27)

  • Tip: Take a look at the National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes for more ideas about what students should know about agriculture as it relates to the study of culture, society, economy and geography. Social Studies content is in orange print.

4.  It’s a great way to build your classroom library. Books are a perfect way for students to learn about agriculture! Incorporate books with an agricultural theme into a language arts or social studies lesson described in the application.  Then add them to your classroom library to be enjoyed by students for years to come.

  • Tip: Take a look at the books in the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation’s Lending Library for ideas. We have over 200 titles, and you can even check them out to review before buying your own.

5.  Funding for field trips is hard to come by. Take students to learn about agriculture first-hand at a farm, museum or historic site. Iowa’s many agriculture museums and historic sites offer tours and self-guided opportunities to learn about Iowa’s agricultural history.

  • Tip:  Be sure to include what you will do in the classroom before and after the field trip to make the most of the learning experience.  If you are learning about agriculture long-ago during the field trip, describe ways your students will compare and contrast that to farming today once they return.

6.  It’s easy!  Many grant applications take hours to complete and require long essays, spreadsheets with details budgets, administrator approval, and more.  Not this one! It only has 10 questions, and most have short answers. Head on over to the application page, create a log-in, and get started.

  • Tip:  Take a look at the application questions now, think about project ideas, and return later to finish. Once you start the application, you can save and return as often as necessary before January 10, 2018.