NORWALK- How do you get little kids interested in school subjects like science and engineering? You give them cool things to play with. That’s what teacher Amy Updegraff plans to do with her $1000 “One Classroom at a Time” educational grant from Local 5 and Bankers Trust.
Updegraff is a technology integration teacher at Lakewood and Oviatt Elementary schools in Norwalk. She goes to each classroom and helps the teacher and students use technology. She says “that natural curiosity really drives them to enhance their own learning. And ask more questions than we come up with sometimes.”
Updegraff is hoping to harness that curiosity in her young students by building an area for kids to use different materials to build and tinker. These are commonly called a “makerspace”, and it’s a new trend in teaching the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.
She says the idea is to give them space to explore and be more hands on. “I want them to feel empowered in their own learning and to feel ok to ask questions beyond what their teacher has asked. That’s one of the things we have pushed here at Norwalk. It’s not just the questions the teacher has come up with but also the questions you come up with and then we’re working together to find an answer.”