Amazeum expands programs with support from $1.2 million Walmart Foundation grant

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 231 views 

The Scott Family Amazeum is now offering in-person and virtual options for “Unfield” trips for preK-8th grade students thanks in part to a multi-year grant of $1.2 million from the Walmart Foundation.

Virtual Unfield trips include activities and resources that have been designed to comply with Arkansas’ Next Generations Science Standard, said Paul Stolt, Amazeum marketing manager.

According to Amazeum, Unfield Trip experiences actively engage students in making connections with learned concepts that strengthen understanding of STEAM. Teachers have access to educational resources by grade level that align an Unfield Trip experience to Next Generation Science Standards.

He said the Unfield trips can be enhanced by connecting with an Amazeum guide or include activity kits which allows up to 26 students to explore an Amazeum-style, hands-on learning in the classroom. Educators can choose from early childhood activities, maker meetups, making and tinkering workshops, or activities around science, technology, engineering,  art and mathematics. There are also more intensive learning experiences like boot camp and the making spaces program that supports schools as they implement tinkering and makerspaces.

Stolt said the Amazeum is an approved content provider by the Arkansas Department of Education. Thanks to a multi-year grant of $1.2 million from the Walmart Foundation, Stolt said the costs for admission and onsite experiences will be covered, as well reduced fees and materials costs for virtual Unfield trip options for students in Benton and Washington counties. The grant also supports professional development for educators incorporating innovative ways to teach science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) in classrooms.

“The Walmart Foundation grant greatly helps us meet the challenges, brought on by COVID-19, to deliver hands-on, interactive experiences,” said Mindy Porter, Amazeum director of education. “With access to onsite Unfield Trips limited, we are able to create virtual experiences for students and teachers thanks to the Foundation’s support. In fact, we now have the opportunity to reach more diverse students.”

Since the museum’s opening in 2015, Walmart Foundation funding has supported visits by more than 90,000 students and adults to the Amazeum. Porter said learning doesn’t end after the Unfield Tip.

“It leads to more questions and exploration in the classroom, at home and in the world. Educators want to encourage this exploration and we want to be their resource for infusing STEAM into the learning environment no matter where that is. This grant will allow us to provide more support for educators who want to develop a student-driven, hands-on, educational approach to learning virtually or in-person throughout the school year.”

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