Amazon surprised students and teachers at Walnut Hill Elementary School in Petersburg, Va. with a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) lab this week. Over the summer, Amazon collaborated with Petersburg City Public Schools to renovate four labs at Walnut Hill, Cool Spring, Lakemont and Pleasants Lane elementary schools to give students increased access to computer science and STEAM resources.
Amazon Business donated over $75,000 in STEAM supplies and classroom renovation materials, while more than 50 local Amazon Fulfillment employees volunteered time to transform the labs.
“What a great day for Petersburg schools,” said Superintendent of Petersburg City Public Schools Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin. “We are so grateful to Amazon for transforming spaces at each of our four elementary schools into STEAM labs where our students will engage in hands-on, experiential learning.”
During the event, students participated in a hands-on STEAM exercise, alongside employees from Amazon’s Petersburg fulfillment center.
Amazon employs nearly 1,000 people at the Petersburg fulfillment center and approximately 10,000 throughout the state of Virginia.
“Amazon is proud to be a member of the Petersburg community,” said Amanda Reed, general manager of Amazon’s Petersburg fulfillment center. “Technology and innovation fuel our business, and we recognize the jobs of tomorrow require a strong aptitude for STEAM skills. These labs can help ignite a lifelong passion for science, technology, engineering and math.”
The labs were outfitted with popular back-to-school STEAM items like science experiment sets, Ozobot robots and robotics kits. Amazon Business also provided funds for cosmetic updates, such as newly painted walls, carpeting and furniture that could include a specially designed science table among others, apt for children to conduct a variety of experiments and get hands-on experience.
“We’re excited that we could connect Petersburg students and educators with some of the best STEAM supplies and kits to make learning exciting and approachable,” said Matt Busbridge, head of education, Amazon Business. “We’re committed to making back-to-school season more impactful for teachers so they can focus on improving learning outcomes for students.”
Teachers at the four schools also received nearly $10,000 in new art and classroom supplies from Crayola.