Community Contributions

What is Maker Ed? Forums Knowledge Building Community Contributions

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  MakerEds 1 year, 5 months ago.

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  • #561

    MakerEds
    Keymaster

    As you continue on your Maker Ed journeys, we want to give you an opportunity to share something with the community. Please take some time to post a task, reflection or resource that you have used or found helpful as a Maker Educator. This is your chance to contribute to the Maker Community and to build the collective knowledge of the members of this group.

    A few suggestions of what you can post:

    A task. This can be something you have already tried in your classroom and that you think others would want to try as well, or it can be a task you have designed but haven’t yet tried.
    A resource: This can be a website, book, article or something else that you think would be a valuable resource for other Makers to use in their practices.
    A reflection: This can be your thoughts on the practice of Making: What works, what doesn’t, ideas and inspirations you have had, Aha! moments from your own practice, or just thoughts from your own experience as a teacher as they relate to Maker Education.
    For each of the three options, please include some explanation and detail as to why you have posted your content and how it could further another Maker Educator’s journey.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  MakerEds.
    #565

    alison_brown
    Participant

    I have spent some time looking online and have found several collections of Makerspace Challenge Cards (using LEGO, Knex, popsicle sticks etc.) which I purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers. I feel that one of my biggest roadblocks is coming up with ideas, so I found these cards helpful.

    Ideally I would like to have bins of supplies, including a bin of LEGO and Knex etc. with cards available for students during a built-in MakerEd block each week. There’s no denying the benefits of MakerEducation for students: the creativity, problem-solving, perseverance etc. and I appreciate the option for student to self-select challenges that align with their personal interests or curiosity.

    I would like to alternate between these “free” MakerEd periods each week and a more structured challenge that directly connects to curricular concepts. My hope is that through these experiences I can develop my own challenge cards that clearly align with the grade 6 curriculum. These would not only state the curricular connection, but outline some background information with visuals that may be beneficial in approaching the challenge. Time to reflect on the design and learning would be built into each MakerEd Challenge period. Therefore, specific open-ended questions used to prompt this reflection should be added to the back of the challenge card.

    Having these types of resources (challenge cards and ideas) available on your website would help to support teachers that are “Wading In,” however I don’t know about copyright rules etc.

    #567

    alison_brown
    Participant

    Grade 6: Air, Aerodynamics and Flight
    A series of MakerEd Challenges that I have undertaken in the past were related this unit. Through collaboration with my team partner at the time, we designed several “hands-on activities” requiring students to design a glider that could be manipulated to complete a specific movement, a parachute to protect an egg and a functioning propeller. We titled these challenges “Junkyard Wars,” as students were asked to use random materials to complete each task. Even before “MakerEd” was well known, we had students test, reiterate their design and reflect on their effectiveness in meeting the challenge, often in relation to observations of others’ products.

    Grade 6: Trees & Forests
    One challenge that I attempted this year aligned with our study of environmental stewardship and management of renewable resources. After reading the story, “The Lorax,” students discussed the problems associated with logging and forestry. Some students created machines that would support in efficient re-planting of trees while others focused on pollution caused by logging machines and tree processing factories.

    #568

    MakerEds
    Keymaster

    HI Alison,
    Thank you for sharing with the community. You raise some great ideas of things we could look to include on the site. Challenge cards are a great entry point, and I love that you are motivated to create your own based on your context. Our dream would be to have community members contribute to the site as well, and maybe challenge cards are a great entry point for this collaboration – especially if they are linked to curriculum, as finding maker connections to curriculum continues to be a hot topic.

    Your commitment to design thinking is evident in the examples you shared. It is so great when, as teachers, we get a chances to engage with our students in prototyping and iteration.

    The Maker Ed Team

    #570

    ksgadbois
    Participant

    My contribution is a bit of a smaller task – but I thought it might be worth sharing. One small way I’ve been trying to infuse STEAM into my class more is when I find there is “free-time” in the classroom. For example, instead of showing movies on holidays I’ve opted to try and take these opportunities to pose “Maker Challenges” to my students to get them thinking and give them the opportunity to do something at a high level of engagement. One activity I tried with my students back on Valentine’s Day was the “Stack ‘Em Up” Challenge. Here is a document I found outlining the premise of the challenge:

    http://ngcproject.org/sites/default/files/9.6_stack_em_up_activity.pdf

    I have personally done this challenge before and I have to say that my Div. 2 students were much more successful at it than I have ever been with fellow adults. If I were to introduce this task to students again I would give them the materials as is, telling them the task, and allowing them to figure out how they are going to achieve it. This task made me realize that half the fun of “Maker Challenges” is not initially knowing HOW you are going to achieve a task.

    I’d like to build up a library of these short “Maker Challenges” to pose to my students as often as I can. If anyone has any additional challenges they know of – please let me know!

    #573

    MakerEds
    Keymaster

    Hi ksgadbois,
    That is a great challenge! Promotes creativity, ingenuity and collaboration in a highly engaging way. I love the way you are redefining your unstructured time in the classroom and making use of it through this interactive activities.

    I think that a section of small, mini-challenges is a great idea. This is something we have been batting around as well, and we think this Stack ‘Em Up challenge is a great one to include. Thanks for sharing it with us. Your reflection about the real fun is in finding out the HOW of a task is spot on. This type of discovery is why maker education is so valuable.

    Do any of the other makers out there have small, mini-challenges we could include?

    – The Makers

    #577

    Kristen
    Participant

    I have posted a task in the collaborative workspace section. I look forward to hearing some of your thoughts/ideas of how to improve the task!

    Kristen

    #578

    Kristen
    Participant

    Hi ksgadbois,

    I love this idea and will incorporate it into my classroom. We’ve done balloon challenges before where students have to build the tallest standing balloon structure used only tape balloons.

    I’ve also done just mini-marshmallows and toothpicks. To build the strongest structure in 15 minutes that will hold up ___ (insert number) textbooks.

    So many little things can happen in the classroom that inspire creative and critical thinking, and keep the kids engaged and enthusiastic!

    Keep it up!

    #579

    Kristen
    Participant

    Hi Alison,

    I love the ambition of your idea. This could even be a “centers” idea too. I can picture that in my classroom as well. Secretly, I love taking pictures, laminating things, and having things well-organized! I might just do something similar!

    Thanks for the idea!

    Kristen

    #594

    ksgadbois
    Participant

    I’d like to share how I’ve been using the Design Thinking Process with my students in my school’s Innovation Week so far.

    The guiding question is: How can we help our water?

    Empathize: We showed a variety of real life pictures/articles/videos for students to grow closer to the issue at hand. Students initially responded to a photo of a sea animal holding garbage using a “I See/I Think/I Wonder”. We then shared a video of how other communities are helping their water to begin to encourage our students’ innovation. We ended the empathizing stage by sharing an article about how First Nations’ communities are affected by unclean water.

    Define: We inter-locked our Empathizing and Defining stages by continuing to have students “define” what the issue at the centre of each of the resources we shared was.

    Ideate: I gave each of the students a stack of sticky notes and set my expectations. I set the timer for 5 minutes and instructed them that they were to quickly and quietly use the 5 minutes to brainstorm as many ideas as possible. I stated that no ideas were too “crazy” or too “far-fetched” and wanted them to write down anything that came to mind. In this case, I told them I wanted quantity over quality. I would rather 20 crazy ideas than 1 realistic one. Some students really struggled with this process and some really thrived. Every minute I asked the students to write down one crazy idea. After their brainstorm I gave them the opportunity to share in small groups and then gave them another additional 2 minutes for extra brainstorm. I then had them collaborate and share again and had students start to ask their peers, “Have you considered…” upon hearing each others’ ideas.

    This is where I have left off. Innovation Week starts tomorrow and thus begins the prototyping and testing. I am very excited for the week ahead!

    If you have any feedback about my process – please let me know! I’m especially interested in developing my ability to lead the “Defining” stage in this process.

    Thanks!

    #595

    MakerEds
    Keymaster

    Hi ksgadbois!

    This is excellent! It sounds like you have really thought this through and are facilitating a rich experience through design with your students.

    As for your Define stage, this is often the time where you synthesize the work you have done in the Empathize stage and create a well-defined “meaningful and actionable problem statement” (Dam & Siang, 2017). You have already done a lot of work in your Empathize stage to identify the needs of your users/stakeholders and the Define stage is where you put together a focused question or problem that you are using to frame your work in the subsequent phases. Take a look at this article: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/stage-2-in-the-design-thinking-process-define-the-problem-and-interpret-the-results

    It gives a great breakdown of the process and might help you delineate what happens when.

    Good luck!

    The Maker Team

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