NSF Grant to Fund Water Engineering Sim for grades 6–12

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $225,000 grant to Brown Engineers to develop a water engineering simulation for use in STEM education.

The funding comes from the NSF's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which seeks proposals on specific topics. Following a roundtable hosted by the Little Rock School District, Ben Rainwater, a Brown employee and University of Arkansas at Little Rock instructor, applied for a phase I grant focused on STEM education.

The program's Phase I grants are designed to go toward market research, and Rainwater and his team will speak to educators and curriculum developers to find out where the holes in the STEM ed market are that they might fill.

Beyond that, Rainwater already has a jump on the actual development, as Brown "has already designed machines that display data for all of the state’s water and wastewater facilities," according to a local news report, and can use that data to build realistic simulations.

Rainwater said that eventually they hope to build a simulation for sale to curriculum developers and for license by schools that might replace a field trip for students in grades 6–12 by putting them in charge of a water control station.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.