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?
Today saw a visit from Mark Divehall from Woods Furniture. Mark and the company he represents have been fabulous to deal with. Mark bought a photographer with him to capture the space a few weeks on and to find out how things were working. The large unit I designed is working out perfectly (although larger in reality than I pictured when I drew it on paper) it is just so versatile and can comfortably accommodate 2 stations and at least 10 learners. It is too high for our littlies to use as a challenge station as they can’t reach right across but they can still put their iPads on it or ‘showcase’ their finished products. The large bins store a HUGE amount of our recycling materials and as they are on lockable wheels can be moved anywhere in the room. Next week we start on the concept drawings for our mobile library which will be exciting. Lots of school are lacking in space and libraries are becoming a luxury. Ours will be fully mobile and able to be booked out on a roster with genre or type (eg Picture Books) able to be spread across Year levels. I love the fact that they’ll be 100% weather proof and all terrain so classes can even be out on the back field! I’ll keep you posted. I’m just putting a flyer together for our Makerspace open day in week 10. Let me know if you are interested as numbers will be strictly limited.
A Monster theme evolved in the Makerspace with Year 2’s after reading this entertaining book “That’s not the Monster we ordered!”. Such a great message and rich discussion from our learners. It was interesting listening to what they would want ‘their’ Monster to do for them. I had 4 stations set up, one Art based where they created cute monsters by straw blowing vibrant Fluro paint ‘sploshes’ and after they dried adding eyes, horns, arms and legs (some drawn with a fine black vivid, some cut out of pre printed sheets I downloaded and some added googly eyes) Station 2 was Engineering based where they used the newly created ‘LEGO tins’ (a tin transformers lunchbox with a cut down LEGO base plate and single colored themed LEGO) their challenge was to create a 3 dimensional monster. Station 3 was a Playdough Monster station with laminated sheets, modeling clay and a range of ‘accessories (eg marbles, ribbons, buttons, cut straws, popsicle sticks etc). Station 4 was a mystery monster bag (a brown paper bag each filled with a different array of bits and bobs). Those that chose station 4 took the entire session to plan, create and improve their creations. The other stations rotated and swapped with someone when they were ready. One station was definitely not as successful as I had hoped, the Art station. Learners LOVED it but it took half the day for the paint to dry so learners came back at lunchtime to do their drawings and add cut our eyes etc. If possible I like the Year 0-2 learners to complete the bulk of their projects with me and the classroom component is using their photos to write, reflect etc. if there is a digital station eg animation or photo editing this is completed back in class. Both the classroom teacher and I armed the hot glue guns for the bulk of these sessions but to build capacity I discussed ways what we had done during the session could be infused in the classroom during a reading or writing session. I also suggested ways the mystery bag could be adapted to suit any curriculum area or focus.
Here’s a close up of the LEGO tins (I bought them for $5 from KMart, they were filled with Marshmellows but I ditched those). The base plates are from the Warehouse, not the LEGO brand, much cheaper and the work perfectly.
This sessions igniter was a Charlie and Lola story “I am too absolutely small for school”. I completely changed the format for these sessions after reflecting on the experience from 2 weeks ago. I set up 4 challenge stations and students spent 15 minutes at each. Although more language experience and developmental based rather than STEAM in its true essence this meant learners were far more focused and engaged. All 4 stations were reflected in the pages of the book....One was Art based, recreating the ‘look’ of the ‘ripped’ page with the outlined drawing of Lola, learners loved the freedom of ripping different textures without scissors. I manned the hot glue gun, using polystyrene to 3D their drawings on their backgrounds. Station 2 was using play dough letter mats and learning letters and words just like Lola (we practiced rolling sausages). Station 3 was hands on making, designing and creating a school for Lola (well plastic Teddy’s actually). Station 4 was a dress up station where learners took a photo of each other dressed up like Lola was in her alligator suit but we had everything from a Dinosaur to high heels, handbag and fireman hat! Classroom Teachers will role modeling using the PiZap app and learners will superimpose themselves onto a photo of the page with Lola in her suit back in class. These sessions were certainly VERY full on but so rewarding. Our students are just buzzing with excitement both when they enter and when they leave (with their hands full of their creations). I’m looking forward to reading their stories they write back in class tomorrow and also listening to their reflections in Seesaw later in the week.
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.