Ballet Slippers and Work Boots

A Boot for Work, a Slipper for Play.

The philosophy of picking the best tool for the job, not just using the ones at hand or sold to you by the best sales person.   It tries to be platform or brand agnostic with loyalty to the projects needs not to any one source. 



 Rules of tool choice!

  1. Best tool for the job!
  2. Easiest to use and Integrate.
  3. Free (or least expensive!)
  4. Platform Agnostic (Web based if possible)
  5. Tutorials or Training available online



Maine DOE Newsroom Logo

Over the years the State’s MLTI program has provided computers, software and training. Last year the state provided funding for Computer Sciences allowing schools to chose between different options. You could pick between Robotics (Sphero and Lego) or Virtual World Building (Co-Spaces and Merge Cubes) with other support materials provided.  If you missed out on one of these items you can get a second chance with the next round!

MLTI Launches Teaching and Learning Technology Grant – #TeachWithTech

The Maine Learning through Technology Initiative (MLTI) is pleased to announce the launch of the #TeachWithTech grant. The grant is available to all MLTI school districts to provide supplemental technology to support teaching and learning with technology. This program aims to provide funding opportunities to MLTI educators who want to bring technology into their MLTI schools in a way that is innovative, impactful, and intriguing. From 3D Printing Laser cutters Video production equipment Audio / Podcasting equipment Robotics & Coding Kits Drones Digital microscopes & doc cameras Specialized cameras (GoPro, 360, etc.) the options are amazing!


Harbor Freight Logo

Harbor Freight has a $200 grant for schools. Once you apply and show your education credentials you will receive a store gift card! 2024





Ag in the Classroom Logo

Ag in the Classroom has a grant for schools to apply Agriculture to their instructions. Most are due August 31, but they repeat.

  • Agriculture Awareness Grant - $1,000
  • Agriculture Awareness Grant - $2,000
  • Educational Garden & Greenhouse Grant - $2,000
  • Agriculture Leadership Grant  (Yearly) - $1,000
  • Statewide Agriculture Education Organization Grant – $2,000
  • PDAL Local Foods for Secondary Culinary Arts Programs - $2,000
  • School Garden Caretaker Stipend Support - $2,000




National STEM Challenge Logo

National STEM Challenge

  • Welcome to the 2024 National STEM Challenge - Your chance to unleash your creativity and innovative thinking! U.S. students in grades 6-12 this challenge is for you! Your mission? Craft a STEM project that tackles a real-world challenge. Choose from one of the 2024 themes listed below and use the scientific method or engineering design process.


Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Logo

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest

  • Each year, Samsung hosts a $2 million national competition for public schools grades 6 – 12 in which student are asked to consider how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM can be used to create change in their communities. Their teacher will apply on their students’ behalf to the contest and compete to win up to $100,000 in prizes for their school. Scroll down to see the contest prize tiers and contest timeline.


Future Engineer Logo

NASA Tech Rise Student Challenge

A total of 60 winning teams will be selected to build their proposed experiment. Each winning team will be awarded:

  • High-Altitude Balloon with approximately four hours of flight time at 70,000 feet and exposure to Earth’s atmosphere, high-altitude radiation, and perspective views of our planet
  • Rocket-Powered Lander that will fly for approximately two minutes at an altitude of 80 ft (~25 m) over a test field designed to look like the Moon’s surface
    • $1,500 to build their experiment
    • A flight box in which to build it
    • An assigned spot to test their experiment on a NASA-sponsored flight
    • Technical support during the experiment build phase from Future Engineers advisors, who will help students learn the skills they need to turn their experiment idea into reality.



Wade Institute Logo

Wade Institute's Design Challenge

  • The Wade Institute for Science Education is a 501 (c)(3) Massachusetts-based nonprofit dedicated to hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based science education. We connect classroom teachers and informal educators with science, technology and engineering content expertise, inquiry-based instructional methods, regional STEM resources, and peer learning communities. We help educators discover first hand the value of inquiry-based learning, and master innovative ways to spark students’ curiosity for STEM.




Funding for Training

Harold Alfond Center Logo

My school participated last year in the Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce Grant.   It allowed 20 of my fellow teachers the chance to take a course on 3D Printing from KVCC.  In it the teachers learned the basics of 3D printing and received a printer in the process. 

The Workforce Grant has access to $60 million in grant funding. With business partners, they are poised to serve 24,000 Mainers with short-term training by 2025. Your school may be a Compact Members with access to The Center’s services, which include:

  • Financial support of up to a $1,200 match per frontline worker in 2023, 2024, and 2025.
  • Community college scholarships for staff to continue acquiring skills in pursuit of a degree or credential of value.
  • An advisor to assist employees with course selection, textbooks, tutoring services, and other resources to ensure their continued success.



Videos (Channels)


Adam Savages Tested Logo

  • Adam Savage, from Myth Busters, YouTube channel.  From shop infrastructure, to modeling and life lessons for the MAKER philosophy Adam explores it all. 


Cool Tools Logo

Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools is a web site which recommends the best/cheapest tools available. Tools are defined broadly as anything that can be useful. This includes hand tools, machines, books, software, gadgets, websites, maps, and even ideas. All reviews are positive raves written by real users. We don’t bother with negative reviews because our intent is to only offer the best.



Adam Savage on cover of his Book Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It

Adam Savage's Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It

  • This book is an excellent read on the Maker philosophy and will give a STEAM teacher helpful ways of organizing a program and their workspace.