Recently I was asked these four questions......I thought you all might be interested in the answers (I have emailed them back to the teacher who asked them)
Are there any examples of how the students have used the makerspace to solve real world problems in their community?
No, at this stage there isn't as we are fairly new to all this (this is our second year operating a Makerspace and the first year in our new home and filtering the maker culture into all classrooms) we have initially only focused on aligning the learning with the needs of the students and the learning in the classroom. This is where we would like to go next in the Year 5/6 team but I see this as better suited to infused through their daily classroom learning eg writing, reading, maths and done as more of an inquiry project where maker and problem solving naturally occurred. Our Makerspace lessons are currently 'student choice and voice' and 'passion' driven. I love that your question has sparked my thinking though and I will definitely explore this further in the future.
Do you use any other sources of literacy works (eg Articles, news items) to stimulate ideas or activities?
I have used video, poems and artwork as stimuli in the past. You could also use the Kiwi Kids news website as a starting point https://kiwikidsnews.co.nz. Actually the choices are unlimited, I have specifically chosen to use a hardcopy resource as our main ignitor to foster a love of reading and to ensure that being a 1:1 iPad school doesn't mean we always choose technology over tradition.
Do you take extension/gifted and talented groups? How do you cater for their strengths?
Yes, I do take extension groups. At this stage the focus of these groups is to either build capacity (eg they become 'experts') to then teach other students in their class or team (year level) or as tuakana-teina (to teach a lower year group) or to extend on learning the class are doing eg to take it to the 'next level'. With balancing my Makerspace facilitation with Assistant Principal and managing the networking and infrastructure there isn't really enough time to cater for this. Our classroom learning is all individualised an d differentiated so every learner is being catered for in their own classroom environment but I do like the idea of 'passion' projects...we have an igloo project and a 'spools' project in the wings at the moment. We've collected the 600 milk bottles.....and for the 'spools' we have the cardboard spills and the timber cutouts to strengthen them and have researched for ideas and inspiration we now just need to 'get doing'.
Do you have a particular process or inquiry cycle that drives questioning/problem solving? Is it consistent across the school?
We don't have an inquiry cycle as such but have a set of TAKP skills and attitudes, which are consistent across the whole school and students self assess these with evidence shared on their Seesaw learning Journals (we also report to these at our 3 way conferences). I will upload a resource that outlines all of this for you to look at into the iTunes U course. In the Makerspace I use the design process "Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create and Improve" (which you would have seen displayed on the walls. In my planning I always include the questioning and prompts to support the book I am using as well as the vocab for each of the STEAM stations which I am wanting to introduce.
We also use our 'wonder wall' to prompt questioning (which was down the lefthandside of the space - I'll add the image below).
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.