My semi-regular column This Week in the Classroom is back! I have accepted a position in a small, mostly rural school district just outside of Northern Virginia. It’s great to be in the classroom again, bringing project-based learning to new audiences.
I am teaching middle schoolers, all levels. Middle school is a great age to teach, despite some of the unique challenges the students pose. Students can really make connections, find passions and dive deep into a project. They are about as creative as they ever will be and watching a kid’s creative power light up is just something cool. Middle school is also a fraught time for many young people, making the classroom a place of great promise and great worry.
Here’s my current greatest hits list of web tools, software platforms and services I like to use in my Tech Ed/Maker Classroom.
Continue reading “This Week in the Classroom: Top Maker Tools in the Middle School Classroom”
This week I will answer some of the most common questions about 3D printing I get asked as a Maker Educator by administrators and classroom teachers. Last summer, I published a similar guide for the Home #Makerspace!
Continue reading “#MakerEd in the Classroom: Exploring #3DPrinting FAQs & Resources”
In this project, young makers use a vinyl cutter to cut and score geometric nets, connecting 2D shapes to 3D prisms, polyhedrons, etc. They learn to recognize the difference between two and three-dimensions, while also seeing a relationship between the two. Lastly, this is a great opportunity for fine motor skill practice. The plastic requires superglue to connect, but paper nets can be assembled with hot glue or glue sticks.
Continue reading “Home #Makerspace: Making Geometric Nets with Vinyl Cutter”
Update: On Dec. 16th, Autodesk announced they would be shutting down the 123D App family in “early 2017”. Most apps will become incorporated into their 3 powerhouse apps: Tinkercad, Fusion 360, and ReMake. As I detailed in my most recent … Continue reading #MakerED Book Review: 3D CAD with Autodesk 123D #makerspace
Update: On Dec. 16th, Autodesk announced they would be shutting down the 123D App family in “early 2017”. Most apps will become incorporated into their 3 powerhouse apps: Tinkercad, Fusion 360, and ReMake. This week I took some time to … Continue reading The Home Makerspace: The Autodesk 123D Suite
This is the second in my “Making a Makerspace” series. Catch part 1, Planning the STEAMworks, here.
With my planning done, I turned my attention to “building out” the makerspace. My original plan called for a long woodworking bench against a pair of bay windows with two tool cabinets and four mobile workstations with integrated tool storage. I thought the makerspace would look something like this:
As the new school came closer and closer to completion, I realized my room would begin to more like this:
Keep with me after the jump, as I show of my workspace and even provide plans on how to build a Long Bench and Mobile Workstation for your own makerspace.
Continue reading “Making a Makerspace: Building Out the Steamworks”
This fall, I move into a brand-spanking new classroom. As part of this move, I’ve been heavily involved in the planning, organizing and logistics of moving my school’s Math & Science program into our new digs. In the words of a close colleague of mine, what a great problem to have! Long term readers of this blog have probably noticed a distinct drop off in posts over the past year – well, this massive move has been the main focus of my long-term planning and energy, leaving little left over for blogging or new projects.
That’s about to change. This is the first of a series of posts on how I’m transforming an empty 20′ x 20′ room into a Makerspace. I will be posting progress reports throughout the Fall 2013 semester, so keep checking back. This post will focus on planning out the Makerspace, which I’ve named the STEAMworks. Continue reading “Making a Makerspace: Planning the Steamworks”
In support of my Mathematics and Technology and Computer Applications: CAD courses, I’ve offered a number of Sketch Up projects for students to complete. In Mathematics and Technology, my students created eukaryotic animal cells while in Computer Applications the students created square, triangle and hexagon – based tessellations and designs. Two resources I used heavily in the design and implementation of these projects: Google Sketch Up 8 Hands – On: Student Coursework and the GeomeTrick series both by Bonnie Roskes of http://www.3dvinci.net. Ms. Roskes projects have a real wow factor in the classroom. My students would shout my name to show off their work, … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Sketch Up Projects at the Middle School Level
This is my favorite project from this month’s STEM Fair. A student of mine decided to build CO2 Rocket cars. I loved building one of these in middle school. I distinctly remember my simple teardrop design coming in last and remarking – well, that’s unfair. I didn’t know I could do THAT! – when I saw the winners thin, stretchy, leggy thing. I looked like a duck next to a greyhound. Last time, my teacher bought a kit. This time, I chose a simple design for this piece – a pine wedge cut from a 2×4, 1/4 inch dowels as … Continue reading STEM Project: The CO2 Rocket Car
After my quick reflections on the Tea Box project and my computer science course, I’d like to take a spin over to my most successful, challenging and rewarding class(es) this semester. I had the opportunity to teach 2 CAD courses with a great, energetic group of young men (and one woman). As the year progressed my classes split into three distinct groups – a developmentally young (think elementary-school-age brains) group, a progressing (middle-school-age brains) and a developmentally-ready (high school or middle school) group.
My CAD course description:
In this course, students will create and build physical and digital representations of the world around them. Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development will frame the instruction to the appropriate cognitive developmental level for each student. Computer Assisted Design is the use of computers and specialized software to create digital objects; be they animations, skyscrapers or the interiors of engines. Students will use Google Sketch Up 8 to re-create and re-imagine the world around them, beginning with a floor-plan of their bedroom and ending with a self-directed project.
What made this course successful? My answer after the jump.
Continue reading “Course Curriculum: Computer Applications:CAD”