STEUBEN TOWNSHIP — A $35,000 grant recently secured by Maplewood Elementary School will be used for teacher training to infuse STEM practices into their classrooms.
Maplewood Elementary Principal Erin Fonzo announced during Thursday's PENNCREST School Board meeting at the elementary school that the funds were earned through Gov. Tom Wolf's office.
The money will also go toward purchasing equipment to support the renewed focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a renovated room designated as a makerspace. A makerspace is where people gather to work on projects involving tools and technology while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge.
"If we need 3-D printers, if we need new computers, new software — basically, (it will be) a makerspace with all kinds of tech for kids to code, create, design and tinker," Fonzo said.
The new space will be housed in the former home economics classroom when Maplewood Elementary was a high school building, which still includes sinks and a kiln. The makerspace will include a green screen and a coding station. Another station will use donated items for students to take apart and discover how those items work or to making something new.
"I think the younger the better in getting them in that (STEM) mindset," Fonzo said. "I used to be a kindergarten teacher, and I know how they pick up things so early if we just let them.
"The whole theory behind a makerspace is learning through play. We'll hopefully have kids in it all the time."
Tyler Dague can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.