This is part four in my “Making a Makerspace” series. You can catch the other articles here.
Makers use stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary Stager dedicated an entire chapter to the various materials necessary for a makerspace to function in their book, Invent to Learn. I’m just going to go for five: the top five materials in an educational makerspace!
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.
This quarter, my students have been building an incredible number of STEM-based projects in preparation for a show-and-tell science fair in March. Every year, I often recycle two or three projects, assigning particular journeys to particular students for particular reasons. And every year, I try to introduce something new. This year, a student suggested unmanned flight. I don’t have a quadracopter handy, so we settled on balloon flight.
Just like in the 1800’s. We were hoping for something that looked like this:
We were able to capture this:
Stay on after the jump to see the rigging and get instructions to build your own balloon photography rig for under $30.
Some quick pictures of coffee tables that the kids and I built at school this fall. We sold six of these pieces at $60 each as a fall fundraiser for my classroom. With the proceeds, we were able to buy mounds of safety equipment, a new drill press and some VOC respirators for finishing.
This project offers a lot of customization for the builder. The top can be sourced from nearly anywhere: old shutters, heavy duty lumbar, salvaged pine boards, etc. Lowe’s and Home Depot sell Parson’s Table Legs which can be pressed into service, or you can buy squared lumber.
Or you can have a full woodshop and go Fine Woodworking on this one.
You can get a SketchUp file and plans for the Simple Coffee Table after the jump.
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As a teacher of mostly teenage boys, I can say my kids want to see three things: something on fire, something crashing, or something flying (and then crashing). I love teaching middle-school science because I get to teach motion, which sets things crashing and stuff flying. As written by Jim Steinman and sung by Mr. Loaf, two out of three ain’t bad. So how do I go from standards to a project idea to a curriculum unit?
Personally, I take a five step approach:
Pick a project,
Choose an excellent essential question,
Find cross-curriculum opportunities,
Generate weekly Maker labs.
After the jump, I’ll expand on each of these points and share some of my curriculum planning tools. Come on in and see how the engine of a classroom might work.
This is Part 3 in my Making a Makerspace series. If this interests you, catch parts one and two. A makerspace is a space for a group of interesting and creative people to make something. Makerspaces differ from traditional constructional spaces in schools such as woodshops, auto mechanics shops, tech labs, etc because making brings three ideas into the classroom: collaboration, communication and personal fabrication. Personal fabrication brings new, ever-cheaper technologies, such as 3D printing and desktop CNC machines, into the classroom for educational use. Collaboration focuses on group and community work, whether in the shop space, your local community … Continue reading Making a Makerspace: What Do We Make Here? Some Capabilities and Tools for Your Educational Makerspace
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.
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”
To end the year, my students have been making simple marking gauges. My students learned to create a mortise and use hand planes to fit a tenon in this particular project. Here’s how we did it. 1. Cut a 1″ or 3/4″ square oak strip into 8″ lengths. 2. Cut a 2″ length from a maple strip about 2″ wide, giving you a 2″ x 2″ square. 3. Use the oak strip to mark your mortise in the center of the maple square. We did this by marking two diagonals across the maple square and then eye-balling the center. Mark the square … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: A Simple Pin Marking Gauge
In the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s, a number of furniture makers, craftsman and artisans reacted against the massive mechanization and industrialization of (their) modern world to create a type of furniture called Arts & Crafts, Craftsman or Mission style furniture. Gustav Stickley in New York, the Roycroft community and others created furniture, which to my eyes, can’t be beat by anything that’s ready-to-assemble.
While I find my heart and soul called by Mr. Morris’s chair, other artisans were getting in on the action. With so much intellectual rebellion running about, some energy had to flow into pottery, right? I’m not a big pot fan (yep, that reads differently than it did in my head) but I do appreciate the art tiles. I just had to find a way to make one without using actual clay. I don’t have the sculpting skills, tools, a kiln or materials for such work.
So how did I do it? I used some of the latest and most innovative prototyping methods known to man.