Here’s a cool project that takes an old standby, the diorama, and adds a little Maker flair to it. The diorama incorporates a MakeyMakey, laptop and Scratch programming environments to turn a stand alone display into something interactive and easily modified. I developed this project for my school’s eSTEAM Fair (environmental, science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). It was a huge hit with parents and kids alike.
This summer I repeated the project with pretty cool results with my two sons. Let me take you along for the ride!
This fall, I opened the classroom with a very simple (sort-of) multi-media project for my students. Last year, I piloted a number of different end-of-project reflection formats (long form, short form, written and typed) as well as online and offline versions. I lacked a reasonable and effective in-process journaling format. This year, I wanted to combine the paper lab report/maker journaling process with the final reflections. So my students and I made custom lab notebooks. These notebooks are made with the following materials: Materials: 1/4” Plywood Letter-sized paper with a combination of reflections, graph paper, etc. 2” wide strips … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: DIY Wood Covered Lab Notebooks
Cajón drums are wood drums native to South America with deeper roots in the Africa. The cajon is a wood rectangular prism, with two thin faces. One of the thin sides, usually the back, has a large hole to allow sound to travel out. The front face can be struck with the hand, mallets or brushes to create different sounds. Construction couldn’t be simpler. Cut out four sides of a box using whatever means you have from a sheet of plywood. I use a table saw now, but my students and I have used jig saws with guides, circular saws … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Cajón Drums
The camera obscura is a old, old project which illuminates the nature of light. Students can discover some major scientific principles: light travels in straight lines, transparent surfaces allow light to travel through while translucent surfaces let some light through, the principles behind photography, scale, proportion and a whole host of other things.
Essentially, a camera obscura is a black box with a very small hole piercing one wall. This hole allows a small amount of light to enter the box.
Now here’s where it gets funky. We need to know two rules about light to understand what happens next. First, light travels in a straight line. Second, light reflects off all objects – it’s the reflected light which our eyes process into visual images. So what happens if light is made to travel through a extremely small space?
Do you want to get into Making and Maker Ed? Don’t know where to start? Don’t have a makerspace? No problem! Here’s five ideas, classroom tested, which can be built using a minimum of tools for students in the K – 8 grade scale.
When I look at the popularity of CO2 rocket cars in STEM programs, its ubiquity and age hide a lot of potential for makers and project-based learning opportunities. The biggest drawback, as I see it, is the high cost of entry. Launching systems cost somewhere in the hundreds of dollars, tracks take up teaching space (60 linear feet for a good one) and wind-tunnels impress upon me the fine line between awesome and inappropriate. At a basic investment of $1000 to $3000 from the big companies. We still haven’t covered the cost of a classroom pack of car building supplies.
Betcha I can do it for less. What’s a makerspace for, if not developing your own infrastructure?
In order to incorporate CO2 racers into your Maker curriculum, you need three things: cars & parts, the launcher & track space. I’ll tell you how I made mine after the jump.