Blog posts of '2020' 'July'

Empire Gives - Distanced Learning

 Lincoln Elementary School, Maywood, IL

Teacher: Ms. Mazzetta, 3rd - 5th Grade Teacher

Project: Help give students an immersive experience with augmented reality STEM toys.

The Students Ms. Mazzetta is a math and science teacher. Her class is composed of 42 culturally diverse ESL students – a quarter of which are diagnosed with special needs. What she loves most about her students is their positive attitude and enthusiasm for virtual learning! She admires their ability to persevere through this challenging time. The majority of the students are faced with detrimental circumstances beyond their control, such as: homelessness and low socioeconomic status. Nevertheless, they come prepared and ready to learn – at a distance – every day. Ms. Mazzetta is driven to provide her students with the most opportunities to succeed – this includes using technology to enhance their understanding of scientific and mathematical concepts.

The Project  Ms. Mazzetta hopes to provide her students with technology they have never before witnessed - augmented reality! By using augmented reality, students can learn even outside the classroom. Merge Explorer puts science and math standards in the palms of students' hands. The standards-aligned STEM app allows students to hold the solar system, explore DNA, play math games, investigate plate tectonics, dissect a frog, and more! This STEM toy will help students easily acquire, process, and remember information. It will increase learner engagement by letting students participate more actively with the content, rather than being passive recipients of information. With this tool, students will be able to explore the learning content themselves, which can make them feel more empowered and motivated to improve skills during this difficult time.

After coming across Ms. Mazzetta's enthusiasm toward learning and hearing about her students, we knew we had to help them during this challenging time that all students are facing. We fully funded her project of acquiring a number of Augmented Reality STEM Toys to add some fun and excitement to at-home learning for the students. After receiving the STEM Toys, Ms. Mazzetta wrote to us saying,


WOW, I am at a loss for words! Your donation has come at just the right time. These MERGE cubes will be the perfect tool to keep my students motivated/excited to learn amidst this pandemic and through the rest of the school year! Math and science are subjects that allow for definitive thinking, but when that clear-cut thinking is combined with technology (i.e. augmented reality), the subjects come ALIVE! Thank you so much. MERGE Explorer will be put to good use - both now and for future years to come! I look forward to sharing the results of my implemented project (and lots of pictures) with you.

With gratitude,
Ms. Mazzetta

If you know of a classroom in need, especially during these challenging time, let us know and we may fund their project on