Avon Grove School District, West Grove, Pennsylvania
Challenge: Avon Grove School District wanted to provide additional STEM opportunities to its youngest learners, and to “ignite a love of STEM for girls,” says Director of Technology Gary Mattei.
Initiative: In 2015-16, the district added a makerspace in the center of each school’s media center. Students have access to various tools, including interactive virtual reality kits, invention kits, electronic and circuits kits, flying drones, and interactive robots. Teachers have been trained on integrating makerspaces at all elementary schools. Each makerspace is open to students, teachers and entire classes.
Impact: The district has hosted open houses for students, parents and the community—including senior citizens. The demonstration of VR with seniors citizens was “simply amazing,” says Mattei. “They were overwhelmed as they explored the solar system, great barrier reef and pyramids, while never leaving their seat.”
Advice: It’s not about the space, furniture, faculty or staff—get STEM tools in the hands of students and give a them a problem to solve. “They will simply amaze you,” says Mattei.