Block 3: This Week At STEAM Week 2 – Maker Week

This week, the students had the opportunity to become Makers!  The intent of the day was to have students accomplish the tasks with minimal instructions by using their Creativity and Critical Thinking.  They were given basic instructions of what to do and had to figure out novel solutions, decide on appropriate materials, and figure out how the materials interacted with each other.

The day started with a quick recap of the 4 C’s and the Design Thinking Process.  After, we got right into the Instant Challenge.  Students were given 30 straws and a pair of scissors and were tasked with creating a free standing structure that was as tall as possible made only from the straws!

We then read a book called “What To Do With An Idea’.  The book brought us through the story of a student having an idea “egg” and watching that idea hatch!  After, we debriefed and talked about some of the world-changing ideas that have be developed such as indoor plumbing, the Internet, air travel, and much more.

After lunch, the students were put into random groups and explored the different Maker Stations set up.  As the students were still fairly unfamiliar with each other, the intent of the random groups was to help students develop and foster their collaborative skills such as agreeing on a plan and role assignment. At one station, the students were challenged to create a pipeline that could transport water without leaking.  They were given straws, clay, tape and popsicle sticks.  At another, they had to create a bridge made of Lego.  The bridge had to span a certain distance, only touch the table at two points, and stay on budget.  Students could unleash their creativity by crafting a magical creature.  They first had to sketch the creature and then they modelled it out of clay.  Using K’nex, the students had to create an iPad holder that rolled, swivelled, and tilted. The Catapult station had the students attempt to engineer a device that could launch a ping pong ball or pom pom using only a paper towel roll, string, elastic bands, and popsicle sticks.  The Marble Run station had students attempting to design a marble run that doubled as a pinball game using cardboard and popsicle sticks.  Lastly, the students had to think in three dimensions.  Using the online app called Tinkercad (tinkercad.com), students were allowed to explore 3D modelling software and create a design to be 3D printed!

At each station, students were encouraged to showcase their work using Twitter and Seesaw.  In Seesaw, the students had to explain their work using the tools provided by the app, such as captions and labelling.  This will be a work in progress throughout the block.

At the end of the day, students were introduced to the concept of visual note taking (https://youtu.be/gY9KdRfNN9w).  This “sketchnoting” is one option the students will have to do their reflections.

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