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”
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
Some people say that hand-made gifts are the best gifts to receive. Others, like myself, say hand-made gifts are the best to give. Still others, namely fishermen and women, claim teaching a skill may be the best gift of all. … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Box on Nov. 2 & 3
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”
Of the three or so classes I’ve taught at TX/RX Labs and the twenty to thirty projects I’ve taught at work, the simple bench project remains my favorite. It is an intermediate level project which can be reached by absolute beginners, it’s cheap to build (approximately $15 w/ finish) and it lends itself to multiple machines (tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press) and hand tools. I present the latest and greatest class yet: Special thanks to Pratt for building extra supports for himself and everyone else, shout out to Sean for the intense questions, my teaching assistants, and everyone else in the … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench Is Complete!
My school spends a lot of time, energy and financial resources on project-based learning. In my experience, teachers use project-based learning as a catch-all term for anything from make-it-take-it projects which last twenty minutes to inquiry-driven, rubric-graded, long-term explorations. Calling the former project-based learning is lazy and misdirection. Creating incredible experiences for students with the latter definition is exhausting and rewarding. Most of the time, a teacher must follow a middle course. This is one of those projects. We started off by designing and building pantographs. If you don’t know anything about pantographs – check out the video below. Also … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Pantographs
In my Applied Mathematics class, woodshop has put the shop in applied. During a unit on fractions, I asked students to build a number of these try squares, all different shapes and sizes. In order to assess my students ability to read a ruler and calculate fractions, I made all the dimensions wonky. No 8″ cuts for my students! Dimensions looked like 8 3/4″, 4 3/8″, 5 “1/16 and all sorts of foolishness. Once I felt my students had mastered the build process, we took our show to Houston’s Mini-Maker Faire! The construction process for a tool like this can … Continue reading Classroom Project: Try Squares
Applied Math Made Easy, a hands-on, application-heavy curriculum designed by a pair of teachers from Wisconsin, has a number of great math labs and activities. Using worksheets to convey directions and learning, the curriculum utilizes a conversationalist tone and “interactive reading” (their term, not mine) to let students learn middle school to high school level mathematics – about a 9th to 10th grade range. I’ve co-taught with teachers who’ve used this curriculum and I can say this: it works. Incredibly well, when your students can read, understand and follow instructions at a high school level. I don’t teach those kids. So … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Rulers & Frames
Eight students, six boxes built and finished. It was a long day in the shop – nearly seven hours with only a few breaks for liquids. I can think of a number of great moments: the first box getting nailed together, the last coat of shellac being applied, the look of what-have-I-got-myself-into as the students tackled nearly 40 linear feet of hardwood for the first time. We captured the moment which stands out most for me in the picture below. Take a good look at the boy in the white shirt. Take a good look at his smile. He didn’t get … Continue reading Community Watch: Build A Box!
Today at TX/RX Labs, I’ll be leading a class in building a few of these tea boxes. I’m sending a box to one random contestant on WoodshopCowboy Facebook page, just in time for Christmas. Remember to like WoodshopCowboy on Facebook! And remember: Make it safe & keep the rubber side down this weekend. Continue reading Community Watch: It’s Build a Box Day!