Grants will fund innovative learning spaces in 25 school districts

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A Dream Flight Adventures Center, a Discovery Garden and a Living Classroom are among new spaces that will come to regional schools next year, funded by $500,000 in grants from the Benedum and Grable Foundations announced Wednesday.

As part of an initiative that emphasizes innovative and project-based learning, 25 school districts in southwestern Pennsylvania each will receive $20,000 to build places for students to think creatively and experiment with technology.

The grant program, in its sixth year, attracted about  90 applications this year. School districts in Allegheny, Beaver, Bulter, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties will receive the grants, which are being administered by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. 

More than $2.1 million has been awarded since 2009 for learning labs that center on STEAM -- science, technology, engineering, art and math. New 

The new spaces have fostered innovative teaching and empowered students, said Kristen Burns, associate director of the Grable Foundation. 

James Denova, vice president of the Benedum Foundation, said the goal is to stimulate creativity and encourage student participation, expanding their role in the classroom beyond “rote recipients.” 

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