Here are some learning opportunities, grants and contests: If you are interested, see your teacher or Ms. Gurthie for more info and for help!!!

scroll below for nationwide, local, and Piedmont level contests.

Digital Learning Day 2014
Olympics trivia contest
During our BYOT lunch you will see QR coded questions - enter your answer here

Olympics Door decorating Contest
info coming soon


See Ms. Gurthie for More info on these two contests- OM and Challenge 20/20
Piedmont's Newest Contest:Odyssey of the Mind

Odyssey of the Mind is a fun global creativity competition that teaches imaginative paths to problem-solving.

The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking "outside of the box." The main rule of OM, is "IF it doesn't say you can't, that means you CAN!"

Piedmont has fielded award winning teams in the past and are bringing back this competition in the 2013-2014 school year.


  • think divergently
  • identify challenges
  • solve open-ended problems creatively
  • be free to express your ideas without fear of criticism.

Each year, five new competitive problems are presented for the teams to solve. These long-term problems are solved over weeks and months. Some of the problems are more technical in nature, while others are artistic or performance based.

Each long-term problem rewards "Style" in the solution.-Students should not simply try to solve problems but take the next step of enhancing their solutions.

The teams are invited to participate in competition and present their solution with other teams. At the competition, the teams are given an on-the-spot "spontaneous" problem to solve. The combination of long-term problem-solving, Style, and spontaneous problem-solving produces a confident, able student.

In Odyssey of the Mind . . .

  • Students develop team-building skills by working in groups of as many as seven students per team.
  • Students learn to examine problems and to identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions and their potential success.
  • The creative-thinking process is nurtured and developed as a problem-solving tool.
  • Students of all types will find something that will appeal to them.
  • The fun of participation leads to an elevated interest in regular classroom curricula.
  • Teachers have a program to further provide students with a well-rounded education.

Since the Odyssey of the Mind eliminates the fear of criticism, even shy students are afforded the opportunity to open up and express themselves. Students learn to work in teams.

More info from the source of this -

Parents will be needed to help chaperone and or co-coach team meetings. Your time committment can be monthly, weekly, or just to help judge at practice or competition .

Challenge 20/20
Piedmont is proud to be one of the few public schools in the USA to participate in the international program Challenge 20/20. Challenge 20/20is an Internet-based program that pairs classes at any grade level (K-12) from schools in the U.S. with their counterpart classes in schools in other countries; together, the teams (of two or three schools) find local solutions to one of 20 global problems*.

See Piedmont's Challenge 20/20 page for more information about what the US Summit and Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy calls "one of the 10 best programs for K-12 education"

Outside contests:
These are contests advertised via CMS grants committee: scroll thru the grants and contests that don't apply to you.

Toshiba American Foundation

The Toshiba American Foundation supports the teaching of mathematics and science by providing funds for teachers in grades 6-12 for innovative classroom learning projects. The foundation strongly supports projects created by teachers or teams of teachers and implement in their own classrooms.

Deadline: Ongoing for grants up to $5,000; August 1, 2013 for larger grant requests.

Award: Up to $5,000

Eligibility: U.S. teachers of math or science in public or nonprofit private schools grades 6-12.


Character Education Partnership (CEP) launches service learning guide

Character Education Partnership announced the launch of a new initiative to help teachers plan service learning projects. The initiative’s website includes sample projects from award-winning schools, guidelines to ensure projects enhance academic achievement, and a variety of learning opportunities. For further information, visit

Teacher to Ranger To Teacher Program (NPS)

The National Park Service’s Teacher to Ranger To Teacher Program seeks to provide opportunities for teachers to have well-rounded work experiences in national parks. The program focuses on teachers from schools that have diverse student populations, who have had no experience with national parks, or little opportunity to explore the relevance these areas can have in their lives.

Deadline: Ongoing

Award: The parks will provide a uniform, housing, and supplementary payment for the teachers.

Eligibility: Teachers from Title I schools.

Contact: Interested teachers should contact the parks directly, and the parks will send applications and position descriptions specific to the positions that they are offering. See website for listings.


Restaurant Group Foundation award grants nationwide

The Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants Inc., announced more than $1.9 million in grants to 850 nonprofit organizations across the U.S. and Canada. The funding was awarded as part of the foundation’s Restaurant Community Grants program. The program provided support for local community programs in the following areas: access to postsecondary education, preservation of natural resources, and hunger.

For more information, visit

FREE Online Guitar Lessons available to public schools

MusicPro University offers its guitar training course Learn to Play Guitar free to public schools. Interested music teachers must complete a one-hour webs briefing to utilize the course. Once completed, teachers receive access to a complete online syllabus of the course. The course is divided into eight modules; the first six build a strong foundation for success for even absolute beginner guitar players. For more information, visit

The Foundation for Bluegrass Music

The Foundation for Bluegrass Music accepts applications for its Bluegrass in the Schools Mini-Grant Program. The program provides support for educational in-school programs that present bluegrass music.

Deadline: Rolling

Award: Grants up to $200

Eligibility: K-12 schools.

Areas: Applicants are asked to submit 75 to 150 words describing the program to be presented including major points it will cover and which instruments will be demonstrated.


Toyota U.S.A. Foundation

The Toyota U.S.A. Foundation supports K-12 education programs with a focus on math, science, and environmental science.

Deadline: Rolling

Award: Grants range from $50,000 to $200,000.

Eligibility: 501 (c) 3 organizations.

Areas: The foundation provides support for: creative and innovative programs which develop the potential of students and/or teachers; programs which are broad in scope and incorporate systemic approach; and cost-effective programs that possess a high potential for success with relatively low duplication of effort.


The Ray C. Anderson Foundation

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation provides funding for innovative, educational, and project-based initiatives that advance the revolution in sustainable production and consumption.

Deadline: Ongoing for letters if inquiry.

Award: Grants range up to $25,000.

Eligibility: Nonprofit organizations.

Areas: Funds may be awarded for, but not limited to the following:

• Environmental and economic think tanks;

• Environmental conservation, preservation, education and restoration initiatives;

• Urban agriculture programs;

• Clean water and clear air initiatives; and

• Grassroots initiatives that inform and inspire people to collaborate and take positive action to protect the planet.


The Mayer Foundation

The Mayer Foundation provides funding for educational, literacy, cultural, humanitarian, scientific, health-care related, and other charitable purposes. In addition, the foundation awards scholarships and student aid to high school, college, or graduate school students to enable the recipients to complete an u
choice at the college or graduate school of their choice.

Deadline: Rolling

Award: Grants range from $2,500 to $5,000.

Eligibility: 501 (c) 3 organizations



2013 Young Scientest Challenge!

SUBMIT 2 Minute Video describing the math or science involved in your innovative solution to a problem (read below) by April 23rd!
Great project over spring break!
$25,000 prize
Info on Contest:

From the website

Entrants should identify an everyday problem related to the way we live, work or play. The problem should directly impact them, their families, their communities, and/or the global population. The idea must be a new innovation or solution, and cannot simply be a behavioral change or a new use for an existing product.

The challenge is to create a one- to two- minute video that...
  • explains the problem and how it impacts them, their family, their community or the global population;
  • describes a new innovation or solution that could solve or impact the problem;
  • explains the science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics behind their innovation; and
  • illustrates how their innovation could both address the everyday problem they've identified and have a broader impact locally or globally.


The following are thought-starters within each category. Students are encouraged to consider one of these topics or come up with their own ideas within these categories.
  • How We Live
    In daily life you experience many factors that impact your health, safety, social relationships and personal needs. What kinds of technologies, innovations or solutions might:

    • Improve access to clean drinking water
    • Reduce waste in our lives
    • Improve the quality of our pets' lives
    • Improve energy efficiency in our homes
    • Make transportation safer and more efficient
  • How We Work
    You work at home and at school. Your work might include completing assignments and projects, cleaning your room, taking out the garbage, traveling to school or walking your dog. What kinds of technologies, innovations, or solutions might:

    • Inspire creativity and innovation
    • Simplify complex tasks
    • Boost productivity
    • Improve communication
    • Allow us to commute via land, water or in air in new ways
  • How We Play
    An important aspect of a balanced life is finding time for leisure activities. Leisure activities include playing sports, gaming, music, movies, and visiting new places. What kinds of technologies, innovations, or solutions might:

    • Boost sports performance or safety
    • Make play more accessible to all
    • Increase opportunities for travel and exploration
    • Provide solutions and innovations for gaming
    • Inspire new ways of playing

Entries will be scored using the following judging criteria:
  • Creativity (ingenuity and innovative thinking) (30%);
  • Scientific knowledge (30%);
  • Persuasiveness and effective communication (20%); and
  • Overall presentation (20%).

Young Scientist Challenge Project Template

Good scientists work through a scientific process when trying to solve a problem.

Download this electronic template to help guide you through the process.
Looking for inspiration? Here's one story that might inspire you...
One Sunday in 1974, Arthur Fry, a new-products developer at 3M, was singing in his church choir. The little piece of paper he used to mark his choir music had fallen out, causing him to lose his page. He thought back to a weak adhesive that one of his colleagues, Spencer Silver, had developed and wondered if he could use it to create an adhesive bookmark that could be easily removed without damaging his hymn book. The next day he used the adhesive to create the sample bookmarks. The rest, as they say, is history. Arthur's sample bookmark led to Post-It® notes, an innovation that has revolutionized the way we communicate and organize information. Arthur, of course, had no way of knowing this. He was simply trying to keep his place in church!Source:

2013 Digital Learning Day Contest:
(Thanks to awesome 8th grader Myah H. for helping with these rules )

Design a School of the Future

  2. Design it--Include elements of Future Learning (see below for definition and inspiration)
  3. Submit it to Ms. Gurthie by 1pm on Feb 5 (see below for directions)

  • Can get ideas and advice from others, but must personalize and adapt the ideas yourself.
  • Can use images from creative commons sources but must be altered by you.
    ( For a starter list of acceptable sources, see the Design Cycle Studio page of this wiki under the section "how to legally bling out your creations"),
  • Design must incorporate 3 or more future learning technologies*
  • Label and/or code the special elements of your design of the future - explaining why aspects of your design are suited for future learning *
  • Include name and grade with submission.
  • Must be willing for your work to be displayed at school.

"Future Learning Technology" can mean:
  • educational video games
  • laptop-, phone- or other mobile device-assisted learning (BYOT)
  • creative collaboration space
  • augmented reality
  • anything that fosters 21st century skills development: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity.

Detailed Steps:
Step 1-Research Future Learning (google "future school" "future educational technology" etc) to get ideas.
Step 2-Design (Draw, build, etc) One ROOM to include 3 Future Learning Features.
Step 3- Label the 3 Future Learning Features. Explain how each one helps improve school as it is now.
Step 4- Design at least one bonus aspect of your school: lunchroom, school bus, exterior building, secondary learning room.
Step 5-Label and Explain how this bonus aspect will enhance learning.
Step 6- Add finishing touches, make it 3D, etc...

Design Media:

Must be Powerpoint, Gaggle or Google Presentation, Video, Animoto, Animation (xtranormal,etc), Photo (Gaggle contains photoshop-like Fotoflexer tool), Prezi or other webtool, program, or app.

3D- any 3D medium (playdoh, toothpicks, cardboard, etc) not to exceed one student desktop width at its base
2D- 8 1/2 x 11 minimum (no maximum). If smaller than 8 1/2 x 11, it will be accepted if it is mounted onto 8 1/2x11 paper.
must be in ink or dark pencil with colors and/or clear labels



Digital Submissions - (share the file with Ms. Gurthie on Gaggle or as email attachment )
Paper Submissions - (bring it to the media center).

Want Some Inspiration?:

Check out these links:
Google Image Search "school design future" to see what others have done

Future School Photos- a real school of the future with no classrooms in Sweden (already built)

Hi Tech- imagination videos of what future tech will look like in school and life soon: if vids dont embed at school go here
Day Made of Glass 2:
Day Made of Glass: or type "corning day of glass" into youtube search box. Watch them to inspire your creative thinking of what can be:

K-8 and Teacher Contests at Scholaic: