The Stuff of Making - Both Old and New    

Making - - Experiences, Materials, Game-Changer Technologies, Successes and Lessons Learned

This is an image of my Barnard Academy library. The THINK piece and its wooden stand was made a couple of years ago by one of our students. In the background you will see some of my new additions: comfy seating and comfy bookcases - I stapled fur to the sides so the kids could lean comfortably on them while reading or whatever. The colorful fur in the background will be added to a different section of the room. New and Old.

Making is not just about the cool new stuff, but a way to look at all materials as learning opportunities. (p. 85) Yes, I truly believe this. Whether the student learns about measurement from baking a cake and dividing it up into X number of equal pieces; creates a chemical reaction; uses cardboard, plastic or wood to design a measurement project, they are all making and learning. Using computers and other devices will enhance the project, and the student will be able to bring their new learning to another level. For instance, documenting the steps with a camera, making a video about the process or creating music/original sounds to compliment the project. Sharing the final iteration with an audience is also important. As I set up my new makerspace at school, I have included three drawers that are labeled “surprise me”. I continue to find and sort out stuff that I think could inspire a young student. I am very excited to be present for the class next week! What will we do with those broken toys? I am a bit of a crazy collector – this will be fun. I am ready to make and learn in new ways.

The most valuable experiences or materials would probably be the ones that are most appealing to that student. When we were creating a moving robot with the LegoWe Do 2.0 program, there was a student who was successful in building the machine, but she wanted to turn it into a moving lamb. I was able to dig up some materials for her and in no time she really took the robotic rover to another level. Two of her friends joined in, and then they wanted an iPad to take videos of their sheep. This was good. I never would have suggested making a lamb.

Last year I saw a project to insert an electric toothbrush into a piece of a floaty noodle to make scribblebots. I have worked with kids with electric toothbrushes in the past, and we have made all kinds of brush bots that move along the floor. We have also created various scribblebots. However, this would be for K students, and it sounded like something they could really do on their own. We had all kinds of supplies on hand, and they cut and glued and decorated. They were quite beautiful. Unfortunately, they were not all working! We would figure this out during our next session. Next class comes in – 5th and 6th graders. They were curious about the new K project, and so a couple of them immediately began to troubleshoot –  “too heavy” – “too much tape” – “not balanced”. This was a good (unplanned) opportunity for all.

I have had good experiences using the MakeyMakey with Scratch. However, I really haven’t taken it to a personal level. I have worked with teachers and integrated their curriculum with the projects. Next year, my plan is to open up the field so there will be more creative results. I will start with the students who have had experience with the device first. Again, the prompt will be the key.

Posted 7-14-18

Ch. 6,7,8 Questions 6, 7, 8

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