After the last few weeks away learning, sharing and presenting it's great to be back in the Makerspace.
I absolutely love this whimsical book by Kiwi illustrator Nikki Spade Robinson, it tugs at my creative heart strings while also aligning beautifully with the Maker Movement. Robinson also wrote the book "Little Kiwi's Matariki" which I plan to use later in the term. I chose this book as the Year 2 teams planning reflected a trip to the local art gallery which had an 'interactive art' focus and they would bring this theme into their classroom learning..
Remember that the book is an ignitor to rich discussion, to stimulate ideas and creativity so you need to spend time asking questions to promote deeper thinking. I was also able to draw on the students experiences of the art gallery visit the week before. I asked lots of who, what, where, why and how questions and also talked about the fact that not everybody likes or appreciates the same things and this is what makes art even ,more powerful as we explore our feelings....... "Why do we have art galleries?" and "What is an artist?".
I set up four stations (rather than STEAM focused this time they were action focused)
So what did the stations look like?
CREATE: I role modelled how to use the app through the Apple TV to the whole group, this then meant that both teacher and students new its features.. The ideal would have been to have been outside in our sand pit but unfortunately it was raining so I used trays and each learner had their own 'beach' (for supervision this actually worked well). Students created a picture of their face in the sand using natural resources gathered from our local beach. Many students also chose to create a creature just like our 'beach artist' did in the book we had read. Many of this year level had older technology which wouldn't run the TalkingPhotos app so they photographed their creations which they would then airdrop to another device later and complete the challenge back in class, this meant that many of them finished early so we chose to rotate this group with the Sphero group to build more 'expert' groups.
MAKE: Each learner had a heavy duty wire (that was still 'twistable), they threaded a raft of materials onto it (we also had a cordless drill which was only operated with me present) and separated the chosen treasures with modelling clay so that they were separated and could move within their own sections (we hoped they might also 'make music' when the 'wind' blew). Learners were also able to choose lengths of ribbon and crepe paper to tie on. Much of the problem solving involved in the 'Make' station was unplanned...learners realised once we tested the 'wind' that many of them had not tied their wires on very securely and the metal fan 'clicked' on them each time it attempted to turn. Each of the 4 classes repeated this challenge station and now each have a moving art installation inn their classrooms - the ribbons 'fly' through the air......the wires are very heavy but still look effective.
CAPTURE: Unfortunately I didn't capture any record of the Sphero station where the classroom teacher was stationed (so that I can build capacity teaching the teachers how to use the technology and then by sending devices with them back to their classes ensure the follow up and next steps) - they were situated under our large bench top unit which was then 'barricaded' in by our flip tables.....this made it super dark and very effective. We positioned some of our heavy duty cardboard tubes along the ground to ensure our Sphero's stayed within reach on our many test runs. On reflection my expectations were too high to expect that learners would also be able to layer using the Slow Shutter app on top during this activity. 1, the space was too small and full of little bodies.....as well as the teacher (who in one case was over 6 foot tall, which was hilarious, he was fantastic, so motivated and engaged), 2, both teacher and learners need time just to have fun and engage with the technology, 3, we ended up rotating this station as all learners wanted to have a go.
The ultimate goal of this station is to capture an image using the Slow Shutter Cam app which enables you to see the dramatic light 'beams' that the moving Sphero creates. For this initial exploration learners used the Sphero in 'drive' mode but would then be introduced to the coding concepts (they have used DASH and the LEGO Boost robots before so this is not new to them). I was inspired to replicate this experience after reading fellow ADE Cathy Hunt's blog post which you can read HERE.
BUILD: Learners airdropped the Amaziograph creations to my laptop so that I could print them out, they then glued them onto 'construction' boxes making sure they only covered one or 'opposite' sides with their design. This then meant when the boxes were completed they could be rotated to show different patterns and combinations. They looked stunning! I'd love to see a 'forest' of them that learners could move through and interact with.
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.