This Week At STEAM: Maker Week Block 2 2017/18

Makerspace. I like to define Makerspace as a “space” where a learner can come and make, design, or create based on their strengths and interests. It is a welcoming environment where the learner can develop confidence and competence in their Making skills, and feel safe and encouraged doing so. It’s more than a shop or set of tools or the latest tech – it is a way of thinking and doing.

This week the students had a chance to explore different Maker stations. The day started with the students completing a Design Challenge. Now the students are more familiar with the Challenge, it moved towards the Instant Challenge format. They were given only 10 minutes to individually plan, 10 minutes to plan as a group, and 20 minutes to complete the build. In addition, the students were randomly placed into groups; their collaboration skills were put to the test. The design involved creating a stable structure that had to balance on a beach ball. The structure had to be as tall as possible.

We then read the book “Going Places”. It was about two makers who took part in a design competition, but all the designs were the same. The two makers decided to make something that wasn’t in the plans. The students picked up that sometimes you have to follow plans and sometimes it’s ok to come up with your own design.

The afternoon involved the students visiting six different Maker stations. They had the choice of visiting whichever stations they wanted. They could spend as much time as they wanted at that station. Some students stayed the entire day at one station, others visited multiple. After, we had a rich conversation about the freedom to choose their learning. The students gravitated towards what they felt were they had the most chance of success. They also appreciated not having a time limit, and they felt they could complete their task.  This was just a taste of their Personalized Learning.

The first station was a Circuit Scribe. This station was instruction-based, but it let students explore how to complete a circuit. Using a power supple and an LED light the students drew an incomplete circuit. They had to select various materials around the room and test which material could complete the circuit. Upon completion, the students could then design their own circuit.

The second station was a past favourite- the pipeline challenge. The students had to construct a pipeline that would transport a liquid, in our case water, from one area of a map to another. It had to go over mountains and around a lake. They had to make sure the pipeline was secure so it would not leak and damage the surrounding environment. They were able to use straws, popsicle sticks, clay, and tape.

At the Clay Station, the students had to sculpt a creature that had magical powers which could protect the environment. They had to take a picture of the finished creature in Seesaw, create a caption giving the it a name and explaining it’s powers. They had to label the different parts of the creature and use the drawing function to show it in it’s environment.

Using a Lego Story Starter kit, students had to film a stop motion movie. First, they had to plan what the plot, setting, and characters would be. They had to create a storyboard that would help them plan their shots. They created their sets and characters from the Lego and filmed using Smoovie. After they were done, they were able to import the Smoovie into iMovie and add special effects, sound effects, and theme music.

At the Cardboard station students could use Makedo materials to create their own design. First, students had to complete a rough sketch of what they wanted to make. Then, they had to estimate the size of the design. Once the size was determined, they had to create templates that accounted for the front, side and top views. They had to measure each Length, Width, and Height of the piece. Using the template they transferred the design to the cardboard, cutting each piece out with a special cardboard knife. They also had to take into account any extra material they would need for cornering and attaching the different pieces together. Using a special tool, the students we able to construct the design with the Makedo screws. Once their design was complete, they had to take a picture in Seesaw, caption what it was, and label the dimensions.

The final station was the 3D design station. The students were given a brief introduction how to use Tinkercad. Following the intro, students had to define some 3D terms by searching on Google. They had to define plane, axis, scale, rotation, reflection, and translation. Once the definitions were complete, the students had to demonstrate a reflection, rotation, and translation using Tinkercad and post into Seesaw with an explanation. The final task was to create their own 3D design and hopefully have it printed on the 3D printer.

Next week: Art Week

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