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!
TinkerLab: A Hands on Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley is a beautifully photographed and curated set of experiments for the toddler to 2nd grade set. While her main focus is art prompts and experiments, she has sections on construction, Maker explorations, take apart sessions, chemistry, and more. Rachelle’s book has given me tons of inspiration and insight into the playful mind of very young children. She walks through the process for setting up an art space, with tool & material recommendations. She also spends a lot of time and space discussing the teaching philosophy behind arts education and why its important. Her habits of mind and interviews with experts are fantastic distillations of the Maker ethos. Continue reading #Makered Book Review: Tinkerlab by Rachelle Doorley @TinkerLabKids
This week, we made a quick foldable checkerboard inspired by my youngest child’s love of the game. This basic folding design can expanded and modified to play any board game. Just let your imagination run wild!
The KID Museum of Bethesda, MD offers a range of Maker activities through outreach, studio time, open play/build and structured classes. It’s open for drop-in visits on weekends and reserved for workshops, school trips and scheduled events during weekdays. … Continue reading #Makerspace Tour: KID Museum in Bethesda, MD
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.
Measure the long side, then secure with glue and nails.
Clamping the Assembly
Parts of the bread box project laid out.
This quick project makes a great starter box for grown woodworkers, but it especially shines as an approachable young person skill builder. This slick box teaches three major skills: measurement, accuracy in manufacture of parts and joinery. A teacher or parent can use this simple project to differentiate between beginning, intermediate and expert woodworkers by adding complexity in the appropriate areas.
The following instructions describe how to build this project with pre-k to 2nd or 3rd graders. The adult preps the wood, while the student assembles the pieces, learning to use a hammer, nail set, hand drill and hand plane. Older students can measure and cut their own wood using appropriate tools.
The last five years have seen an explosion in Maker Edu-themed products geared for the younger set. Young kids make enthusiastic makers. They love challenging puzzles, approachable crafts and as long as you put flames on it, they think everything you do is amazing! What’s not to love about teaching the pre-K through 3rd grade set?
Little makers also need encouragement, support and developmentally-appropriate materials to be successful. Many of us think Makers means 3D printers, microcontrollers and fancy toys. Young makers will feel left out (though amazed) at all those cool gizmos and flashy parts because the concepts, skills and tools are all too complex. Instead, we can broaden our definition of making (to include art, crafts, woodworking, cooking and more) while developing technology tools that teach at their level. Technology tools can empower our children through exploration and discovery.
Robot Turtles and the BeeBot/BlueBot are two MakerEd platforms you can use to promote foundational computer science concepts and coding skills to the very young learners.
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.
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.