Each year our school offers electives to students in Grades 4 – 8. These electives, better known as “clubs” include activities ranging from lacrosse, handball, and photography to Zumba. There’s even a crew of Star Wars enthusiasts. Learning this, I thought I would jump at the chance to launch a club for makers in Grades 4 – 6. You might recall from some of my earlier posts my previous attempts at starting a maker space. Learning from that experience, I decided to try again. With that said, the next few posts are a reflection of my attempts to get the ball going. Again. In this post, I wanted to document some of those processes. I might add I didn’t quite have time to develop the mission statement nor a collection of materials to furnish this space, and I was comfortable with that. I simply wanted to get started.
To better my own understanding during the process, I wanted to comb through some reputable resources, as well as connect with some folks who knew what they were doing (smile). That’s where Shawn Grimes and the folks over at Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF) come in. Consider following them on Social Media at @dhfoundation. From their site, Digital Harbor “is dedicated to fostering learning, creativity, productivity, and community through education.” What seems to be so cool about what they’re doing is that they seem to value the idea of reimagining and reclaiming used things. In particular, their current home is housed in a former recreation facility in the Federal Hill area of Baltimore City. What they’ve done is transformed this space into a vibrant community hub for kids, educators, and maker enthusiasts, both young and old. After their first year, DHF launched the Center of Excellence to provide training and support to others, like me, on how to incorporate making into their own learning environments. I might add that among others, they also offer a mean workshop on 3D Printing for Educators… That’s my next stop. However, I digress.
During today’s Maker workshop, we explored the “why’s” of making and learning to see making as a means of developing productive habits of mind like adaptability, creativity and much more you’re likely aware of. One thing that stood out to me, however, is that making also equips students with skills and understandings for jobs that do not yet exist!
Over the two days of the workshop, Jonathan Prozzi and Andy O’Neill walked us through various projects we could easily take back to our schools and replicate, one thing I liked about this workshop – definitely not a passive experience.
During the workshop, we made LED name tags, Galaxy Bots, Paper Circuits and more. In addition to the cool projects, we talked a lot about the types of maker spaces, how to get started, how to fund your maker space, how to teach making, building maker culture, prompt development and how to deal with frustration during a project. We even received a box of supplies valued at $300 to help us get started.
To date, I’ve been able to complete a few of the projects with my students. My next post will cover our first day of making in the Maker Club and the projects our students tackled along the way. Don’t forget to check out the footage from my Funky Wind Tube Challenge. The challenge required us to create an object that covers in the blue zone for at least 10 seconds and guess what? She did that…
Til next time.
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