My intent is for the concepts I introduce in the Maker space to be built on and infused or deepened within the classroom context. For this to be done well you need full buy in from classroom teachers and to support this the concepts I introduce need to be 'rich, real and relevant' (linked to student needs and AO's or enduring understandings). The Year 4 team are focusing on collaboration (being new to an ILE space) and our school wide writing focus. After I introduced mapping and coding concepts (using the story stones challenge) teachers set the challenge (as part of their literacy rotation) for students to create a map then have a buddy use directional language to 'solve' the challenges posed on the map. WOW.....what stunning results, engaged, motivated writers, collaborating with their buddy (and others as many shared their map and writing with anyone that would listen!). Teachers commented on how this task supported our new curriculum 'skills and attitudes' with 'Persistence and Problem Solving ' being a standout across the whole class. I realise this follow through needs to happen after every session in some shape or form.
Last weeks introduction of our first Makerspace coding challenges was very well received. I set the Year 4's a 'construction' theme based around a Picture book that is focused on the job of building a school library (which is just what we are about to do......even though ours is more Makerspace than library!). My goal was to focus on 'directional language' with each station set challenges to complete e.g. the Blue Bots needed to do up, under and through. Where as Dash needed to move forward, backward, turn etc. There was also a junk station focused on building vehicles with articulated arms, augers, cranes and other concepts learnt from the text and discussions. The Duplo building kits have worked out more adaptable than I had expected and are still a challenge for the Year 4's. Racing the cars and using the 'discs' to measure distance was very engaging and students that had not chosen this station were all very eager to have the option to choose it next time. There are 8 different challenges per kit - all with moving parts and different functions (I think I may ned more than the 8 I purchased originally, I love that these sets are far more manageable than the lego and they fit for our new entrants as well, this seems a better financial option than the Lego). I also had to add a Pirate story stone set as the 'Mapping' station proved popular in two of the four sessions. I was looking forward to seeing the results of the follow up activities back in class as one of the classroom teachers who stayed for her class session was buzzing with ideas!
This evenings mission......upcycling serving trays into low tech 'Coding Stations'. The Makerspace has a 'construction' theme running this week so one station tomorrow is safely navigating your truck through a construction site - with a focus on introduction to coding, directional language and concepts. Learners will buddy up with a story stone set and a coding tray and set challenges for each other and then together set a challenge for another team. Each station, including Blue Bots and Dash Robots will create a challenge for another group to complete. There will also be an iPad construction problem solving challenge and a construction building (junk) station. I have a feeling we are going to need a lot of space! Photos to follow tomorrow.
Interestingly more students chose the 'iPad Design' station in this group, where as the class before all wanted 'to take something home'......this left me pondering at the end of the day on how often in a 1:1 school do we provide opportunity for hands on manipulating of materials and good old fashioned developmental play? I know we do it frequently in the Early Years but these guys are Year 3 and it was definitely a priority for them. Anyway this group absolutely loved the 'Daily Monster' app and created stunning Sea Creatures which will be the centre of their writing on Monday. I had three different parents stop by the Makerspace after school to share their child's excitement and flow over to home (cellotaping everything in sight to 'up cycle' in one case!). I'm very thankful for our BOT's support to make this space happen and am super excited that our new building is almost underway.
Today the first two classes from our Year 3 team visited the Makerspace. Next week they begin their inquiry into 'under the sea' so I chose to use the book Commotion in the Ocean as an igniter, to spark thinking, questions and as a platform to link to personal experiences. Students had 7 stations to choose from.....everything from creating and animating playdough sea creatures to building rafts, boats and submarines. Their egg carton creatures were adorable and they are so excited to write about them back in class tomorrow.
I created another set of challenge cards to spark learners curiousity, they made choices and set to planning and creating. The fact that you can clearly see and hear learners reflecting on the engineering and design process.....Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Improve is definitely a step in the right direction. The building a Tin Foil boat challenge was a big hit!
After this week, every class and every learner (650+) have been through this space at least once (juniors twice). Next term I'm hoping to plan for 3 sessions per class per term.
As these 2 classes occupy and function in a collaborative teaching and learning space, this session was a repeated format of the earlier one. This will enable teachers to cross group when focusing on follow up writing activities in class (writing is a school wide focus for 2017, including the 'ALL' PD). Learners created waka that floated and held a 'Hoppleplop', amazing houses out of lego or boxes and stunning play dough creations!
This was our last Senior (Year 5/6) session last week. This group was so engaged and motivated but better still super curious! Dylan (who is part of our 'Tech Team') chose to continue building the Jimu Robot while another group chose to build 3D jigsaws which called for perseverance and problem solving all round.
I wonder what the kids will call me, today one said "I'm looking for the Apple Teacher"......and another said "Are you Mrs Maker?" ......funny.