This Week in the Classroom I’m going to explore a variety of design challenges that I use in my classroom. I designed each of these projects to prompt students to explore the engineering design process, learn basic scientific concepts, such as forces and loads on structures, learn executive functioning and soft skills, and develop presentation skills in a variety of media. These projects are designed to be super flexible in practice. I can extend these projects, compress the time, develop thematic elements. None of these projects use expensive materials or electronics. Some of these project briefs I use nearly every year, in nearly every course. They are simply that good.
Here’s a quick project to cut out on the scroll saw. Scroll saws are small, cheap, versatile tools that can cut through all sorts of thin materials, such as plastics, wood, plywood and cardboard. They have a very, very low … Continue reading Home #Makerspace: Paper Airplane Launcher
Last spring, I had the opportunity to teach one of my dream units: Light and Waves. We completed three projects during this time: camera obsuras, cajon drums and a pinhole camera. This 3D-printed pinhole camera combines three centuries worth of … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: 3D Printed Pinhole Camera
Hans Christan Orsted’s discovery that electricity generates a magnetic field led to the development of electromagnets. Electromagnets are bundles of wires wrapped around a ferrous core. When electricity flows through the core, the iron magnetizes. When the electric flow ceases, … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: How to Build Electromagnets!
This year was a big year in the STEaMworks (STEM focus, art driven, work/project centered: the STEaMworks), my self-styled Maker classroom. We (and the Math/Sci Team) built a lot of projects: rockets, rocket cars, derby cars, catapults, simple robots, box-making, bench-making, bridge-building, sail-testing, music making, spirographs, pendulums, 3D prototyping, CAD models, Arduino projects, Alice computer programming, Art Cars, shed construction, a digital STEM Fair and more. I’ve just typed that up and still can’t believe it! Nine months and so much sweat, math, science, art and tears. How did we (my co-workers and rock-solid team, my students and my very … Continue reading Making A Makerspace: Top 10 Tools in a Maker’s Classroom (2012)
You’ve been to a science fair, right? Tri-fold boards, volcanoes and blue ribbons. This month, my colleagues and I shepherded the “STEM Fair” into existence. The STEM Fair is a showcase for any Science, Technology, Engineering or Math project our students produced over the course of a month. My school produced forty to fifty blog posts, hundreds of digital pictures, a dozen two minute videos, thirty presentations and about ten individual physical showcases. I have a room filled with Japanese art-chemistry, rocket cars, rockets of various propulsion methods, a small robot, a Lego-Branded robot, paper gliders, a seesaw and more. … Continue reading Technology in Education: The Digital STEM Fair
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
I’m knee deep in the STEM Fair. Some examples of work from my two or three classes of students. make it safe & keep the rubber side down. Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: STEM Fair