Half a Day Inside the Edgerton Center with Amy Fitzgerald

Published in MIT News on October 22, 2014, by Hannah Hailan Pang '16, Edgerton Center

A classroom of 4th and 5th graders chatter excitedly, hunched over long tables to hunt for tiny resistors in clear electronics kits. They’re building a simple circuit to attach to the back of a cardboard box that is decorated with multiple-choice questions. The objective? When touched by a clip, the thumbtack next to the correct answers causes a bright green LED to light up; the tacks next to the incorrect choices won’t.

Amy FitzgeraldWhat sounds like a week’s work for most elementary school classrooms is, in fact, half a day inside Amy Fitzgerald’s classroom at MIT’s Edgerton Center. Before lunchtime, Fitzgerald has already wrangled a feisty group of young students to sit at their desks, taught a subject to their full understanding, and sent them home with a cool science project they made themselves. The students’ bright eyes shine with new curiosity. Then, it’s on to the next lesson.

Fitzgerald’s team consists of herself and Amy Belanger, another Edgerton Center-affiliate. She also relies on a few student helpers and sometimes community volunteers from Vecna, a healthcare tech company in Cambridge. But often, it’s up to Fitzgerald and two or three other adults in the room to run an entire class of 20 young students...

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