Name: Amanda Allen
Role: Career and Technology Education/Teacher
School: Southwest Middle School; Brevard County
Located: Palm Bay, FL
Number years teaching: 1
What do you teach and what grade?
Why do you like what you teach?
I love giving students “impossible problems” and seeing students figure out solutions with very little guidance and when they realize they truly can do something if they put their minds to it. I have a lot of students who come into my class thinking it’s going to be boring, and I love when they get so wrapped into a project they don’t want to leave.
Did you always want to be a teacher?
No, when I was in sixth grade I got involved with the Technology Student Association (TSA), and it taught me so many wonderful things. I grew up wanting to become an environmental engineer, and then an industrial designer, and then finally I studied digital media in college and loved it. I loved TSA for inspiring me to try all these areas of technology. After graduating college, I decided I wanted to inspire students to become all those things and to help students have an exciting introduction to technology like I did.
Why do you like to teach with hands-on products?
Hands-on products enable students to have an experience that is fully immersive and engaging. In addition, hands-on products give the opportunity to really gain problem-solving and critical-thinking skills by immersing them into a problem. I believe all kids learn kinesthetically; they are just not given the opportunity very often.
How does using hands-on products improve the students’ learning experiences?
The hands-on projects can bridge so many of the core classes in a fun way, which causes the students to walk away with a lot better understanding of how everything is tied together. Hands on is engaging and makes students complete the design process. It is one thing to think of a solution; it is a totally different thing to build the solution.
How long have you been using Pitsco Education products?
I have used them as a student since the third grade when I made my first solar car and raced in the Junior Solar Sprint open class. I used Pitsco products throughout my school career, and as a first-year teacher for about six months.
What is your favorite Pitsco Education product and why?
I love the CO2 dragster kits and getting students through the designing, constructing, and racing of the cars. I am able to teach them so much with one project. It is amazing and they seem to have so much fun.
How do the students respond to Pitsco Education products?
Extremely well. They love the challenge and the fact that they get to build something on their own. In addition, all of it is able to become a competition, which only fuels the excitement. The curriculum is applicable, so they learn so much.
What’s your greatest teaching accomplishment?
As a first-year teacher, so far I am so proud to have helped my students build so many successful dragsters and planes. In addition, I have a group of students almost ready to participate at the Florida Technology Student Association State Conference!
Learn about other Pitsco Teacher of the Month recipients at www.pitsco.com/teacherofthemonth.