These two books are so inspiring and absolutely perfect to support the Maker movement. I didn’t read the books word for word but discussed the concept and ideas then introduced the ‘creations’. We shared the attributes and special characteristics then focused on the mathematical and scientific concepts eg Symmetry and design similarities. We delved deeper into the Aquatica book as this supported the current learning theme back in class.
I had four challenge stations set up for this weeks sessions with our 8 Year 5/6 classes. Each station was interdisciplinary infusing science, technology, maths and art. Planning is becoming more challenging to document as each curriculum area melds with the next. I can clearly articulate it but documenting it is challenging, I’m still not sure I have the best format.
Today’s stations were
1. BUILD - designing, creating and building a ‘Mechanica’ creature.
2. CREATE - creating an intricate symmetrical design and using the iMotion app to record its creation. (Last week in Australia I facilitated an Early Years ‘Inspiration Station’ called Nature Mandala and I adapted this idea to suit our learning context and level).
3. DESIGN - explore the app ‘Creature Garden’ and design your creature. Explore habitats and features of your creature and consider it’s features and ability to adapt to its surroundings.
4. EXPERIMENT- experimenting with symmetry and printmaking. Using a CD as a base and exploring colour and technique to produce a unique artwork.
This book does also have an online open source piece of software but I chose not to use it as I felt it was better suited for an older age group (I think it would be excellent for Years 7 and 8).
This was a learner ‘experimenting’ with design and symmetry before using technology:
Here’s an example of what was created on station 2 with layering technology:
Here’s a couple of examples of what was created on station 4:
This week I am working across Australia, Keynoting and running STEM workshops at a series of Early Years conferences in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. Although this week will be crazy busy I am also taking the opportunity to reflect on where we are now in our TAKP journey and what lies ahead (the bonus of a body clock that has no idea what time it actually is is I’ve been up since 3am Perth time!). Our schools Skills and Attitudes sit at the core of all I do in the Makerspace. I’ve been scrolling through photos and celebrating the power of the iPad in capturing stunning evidence of those Skills and Attitudes in action. I’m left wondering how often are teachers still focusing on ‘apps’ and missing the one most powerful tool of all? The iPad has changed the way teachers teach but more importantly, the way students learn.
Capture thinking, problem solving and learning in action...
We are Collaborators!
Two Makerspace sessions with the Year 5’s and 6’s and then a lunchtime webinar - SeeSaw in the Makerspace, then an afternoon of network and infrastructure sorting for me. These SeeSaw events are great free PLD and even though I’ve been immersed in the Maker culture for several years now I picked up a couple of new products I want to investigate, a couple of lesson ideas and there were two statements they repeated more than once that have stuck with me.....we want our learners to be ‘Problem Seekers’ not just problem solvers (I LOVE this) and ‘Voice and Choice’, we do this well but I liked the simple word association as I think it will stick with our classroom teachers. If you are still thinking about our Makerspace open day and PLD coming up get in touch as we are thinkers by about running .two days as there’s been so much interest. I’m confirming spots for Friday 6th tomorrow. Feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
I am clearly going to need to get my hands on more ‘take apart’ equipment! Today was the first session for Year 5 and 6 in the Makerspace and the ‘Tinker’ station was a huge hit. The group took apart a CD Player, a wired keyboard, a TV Remote, a wired mouse, a powerboard and a speaker unit. They documented (using iPad), video, time lapse, stop motion and pic collage) and discussed each ‘layer’ as they looked at all the intricacies that make their piece of equipment work. Tomorrow’s group have a desk lamp, a toaster, a hairdryer, a power plug and more! The ignitor for our session was the book ‘The Colour Monster’ and each station was planned to invoke emotions and for students to discuss and relate their emotions back to the book. The ‘pop up’ station wasn’t as popular as I expected with only one choosing it in the first session and 3 in the second. The OSMO Coding Jam station was where we related music and beat to emotions.....we talked about Bruno Mars’ Song ‘Happy’ and how this makes us feel as well as ‘beats and tones’ such as the ‘dadum dadum dadum’ of the ‘Jaws’ movie sound effect and how that makes us feel. The biggest group once again was the Mystery Bag Challenge station which surprised me. Learners were stretched by many of the cards. Tomorrow I have 2 more Year 5/6 classes so I’m looking forward to reflecting on their choices, I will drop the pop up station if it’s not popular after tomorrow’s sessions. The dynamics in each class are always different but that doesn’t mean I always get it right. I’m thinking of adding either a ‘colour themed LEGO robotics station or a science experiment.......
PLEASE NOTE: Any ‘take aparts’ such as computers, laptops etc have had glass removed, I have obtained ‘dummy’ equipment in some cases eg anything dangerous removed, I also have an electrician parent who can advise re safety of components and whether something is ‘fit for purpose’. Safety always comes first, we are NOT ‘smashing’ this is a Tinker or ‘take apart session where there is a focus on considering reverse engineering and how things work.
I saw this on my Facebook thread today and thought of the last couple of days in the Makerspace and the challenges that involved simple materials - boxes, tubes and recyclables.
I just had to share another of Mea’s creations...the challenge she chose (after we read ‘If I built a car’ by Chris Van Dusen) was to use everyday materials of her choosing to build a vehicle that could be powered by driving a Sphero Robot (using the Sphero Edu app on her iPad). As yet no one in the other 2 classes had been successful....their cars ‘wobbled’ or ‘shook’ but none actually moved forward or back. Mea works with determination, she problem solves and persists......her persistence pays off!
The Year 4’s became builders, designers, engineers and technologists over the last two days (with each of the 4 classes having a session), they examined the principals of Newton’s Law. The book “If I built a car” sparked curiosity while opening our minds and imaginations. There were 4 challenge stations to choose from, a LEGO build and technology challenge where students timelapsed, used stop motion and/or PiZap to bring their creations to life. The second station was creating a balloon powered car, the third was designing a Sphero powered car which had to actually move (the biggest challenge of all!) and the fourth station was a bridge building challenge where the bridge had to ensure a matchbox car could make it safely across with only a light push. When students are given the choice to follow what intrigues or inspires them and each choice is equipped with a problem and they have to consider and reconsider their next steps or better still to struggle with the process and then to celebrate some level of success (however small) the learning is rich and memorable. The gloves at the hot glue gun stations are working brilliantly. Thank goodness fir air conditioning today. I’m hoping our shade sail will be up in the next couple of weeks as it’s to hit outside after the morning block. This session could have been adapted to any year level. Next week I have Year 5 and 6’s in the Makerspace. Let me know if you’d like to come for a visit as our first Open day and PLD is on Friday 6th April.
The igniter for the Year 3’s sessions this week was the fabulous picture book ‘Violet the Pilot’. Students were motivated by the 4 challenge stations 1. A mystery bag - build an aircraft 2. Design, build and test a hovercraft out of a CD and Balloon (Newton’s Law) 3. Create and launch two Rockets, one build for distance, one built for height (made out of 2 straws and fins) 4. Build a 3D invention or aircraft from a LEGO kit. Simple stations that produced lots of conversation, thinking and inventing. The hovercrafts were a real challenge, some definitely moved but not with the finesse of the how to video (downloaded from You Tube and shared via iPad and headphones, placed on their station). I need to remember to set up an iPad on time lapse to capture a day in our space. I love that students are recording their builds via video and taking lots of photos to write about and reflect on later. These experiences will also be posted on Seesaw and accessed against our schools Skills and Attitudes.
Yesterday’s middle session was a ‘Passion Driven’ group, 16 students chosen from the Year 3 team each with a musical or technology passion. The focus was on immersing themselves in a collaborative task of coding to compose music with the OSMO Coding Jam kits. Lots of problem and solution discussions going on, rich collaboration
and celebration with just the right amount of sheer frustration! I loved that when one group completed each level they danced around their station still with their headphones on celebrating their cool beats. Who said you couldn’t teach music without a musical bone in your body? I want to complete this type of session with every age level so just need to work out how......
I’m trialing these in the Makerspace today. Hot glue guns (and yes I use Cold Melt ones too but if it’s plastic on plastic the Cold Melt glue just don’t hold for long), are vital pieces of equipment, we use them most days. I have 2 stations with 4 guns operating at once, both strategically position so learners (and adults) can use, monitor and try and eliminate any unknown hazards. But alas yesterday was ‘our’ first casualty (you probably heard the extremely loud scream!), the burn was only small thankfully but a burn nevertheless. So this morning I queued at the supermarket for opening and bought these for just over $2 each. I’ll let you know how they go after today’s sessions with Year 3. I’m wondering if they’ll just be too big and they’ll lose their dexterity?
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.