Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oh, the things you can make!

We started this week with our new project-based learning unit with the driving question:  What makes businesses successful and innovative?  Along with this, we'll be diving into the entrepreneurial cycle, innovation, and much more.  Integral to all of this is students working in 'companies' to create and design a new product, protoyping it using a 3D printer, the Makerbot Replicator.  To introduce the whole concept of innovation, I had the students brainstorm the differences and similarities between innovating and inventing.  So interesting - one student responded with an analogy - "Well, inventing is like creating a program in Scratch and innovating is like remixing someone else's program."

I then showed them two short videos to review how Makerbot replicator and digitizer works and had them write the steps down - practice functional text applications.

After this, I showed them three videos from Makerbot's site about explorers who have used it to invent, create, refine, and benefit humanity.  We talked about how people collaborated from different continents to create.  How Makerbot facilitates the design process.  How it is so easy to 'tweak,' 'remix,' and try out new versions of the same design.  How they used Makerbot to solve problems and create solutions.  How they are inspired to do the same in their lives.  One student came up to me after class and asked me how much a Makerbot cost because she wants to print prosthetic legs for a family friend who lost limbs in a war.  In the words of one my students, "Makerbot is the door to opportunity."

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