GRACE Project

GRACE (GIS Resources and Applications for Career Education) is a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation that was developed by Eastern Michigan University and its partners, including MVU. Its goal is to enable teachers and students to develop new STEM skills and competencies.

The project goals include establishing a three-stage process that encourages a large number of middle and high school students and teachers to engage in learning through GIS/T experiences across the State of Michigan.

The Explorer level introduces students to GIS/T through ArcGIS Online Portal and through demonstrations developed with online GIS/T tools to build students’ basic understanding of GIS/T as well as pique student curiosity.

The Investigator level leverages students’ curiosity and interest and prepares them to work with GIS/T lesson modules that are designed to enhance the science and engineering practices and align with the Next Generation Science Standards.

The Intern level provides students with professional GIS/T training and with opportunities to gain work experiences in local organizations as Interns.

The professional development activities for teachers are tightly integrated with this progressive learning process so that adequate instructional and technical mentoring and support will be provided to support students at each level.

The project will also provide workplace and college experiences to students from underrepresented and rural communities.

GIS/T are in demand for STEM careers
Instructionally, GIS/T has long been recognized as an interdisciplinary educational technology, supporting high-level thinking and spatial reasoning. Spatial reasoning and visualization have been demonstrated to be foundational to STEM. The GRACE project brings geospatial tools to classroom teachers and students. Geospatial technologies (GIS, GPS - global positioning system, and RS - remote sensing), and the analytical tools for using these systems wisely, now play a fundamental role in the provision of emergency services, transportation and urban planning, environmental hazard management, resource exploitation, military operations, and the conduct of relief operations. In the future, geographical tools and techniques will be of vital importance to the effort to monitor, analyze, and confront the unprecedented changes that are unfolding on Earth’s surface. Because the uses for GIS/T are so widespread, the market is growing almost 35 percent annually, with the commercial subsection expanding at the rate of 100 percent each year.

Teacher benefits
The benefits of teacher participation include access to insertable GIS-enabled adaptable lessons that are easily integrated into STEM classes, 60 hours of professional development, tech support from GIS/T professional mentors and pedagogy support from GIS Ed-community, plus a stipend.

For more information, contact Frances Saroki, Senior Manager of Quality Educational Services at MVU at

The GRACE Project »