Monday, July 20, 2015

Maker Summer

Back in the spring, I was asked to direct a STEM summer academy.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to create a summer experience for grades 4-8 learners that would be the best STEM experience they could ever have!  As I was brainstorming ideas, I decided it would have to be all about the kids having a maker experience in every sense of the word - three strands all centered on making and creating.
1)  Code-makers:  Here, the students used Google CS-First and App Inventor to create games and apps.  They engaged in pair-programming and had a lot of fun 'making' with code.

2)  STEM-makers:  In this strand, the students created using science, technology, engineering, and math.  The room was full of "junk" that they used to make Rube Goldberg devices.  They had Ozobot and Sphero challenges.  For Ozobot, they had to design the longest course in black marker on an 8.5 x 11 inch size sheet of paper.  Then, they ran their ozobots on the course and the robot that took the longest amount of to finish each day was put on the leaderboard.  For the Spheros, we created an obstacle course through which they had to manipulate it.  A separate leaderboard was kept for those who completed the course the fastest.  They also worked with Hummingbird robotics to program their creations to follow their code and experiment with the Macrolab app for Sphero.

3)  Design-makers:  Here, the students designed in Google draw and had their designs laser engraved onto wood plaques that I picked up at Home Depot cut to size, metal dog tags from Oriental Trading and metal water bottles from 4imprint.  They also designed in Tinkercad and 3D printed their designs.

1 comment:

  1. I found you through a blog post on ISTE. Question about CS First.

    I teach a middle school robotics class. We use the Lego Mindstorm EV3 kits, but I plan on doing some basic computer programming before we dive into the robots. Last semester I used resources from but it was less about creating and more about figuring out what they wanted you to do and how to do it (which does have it's value too).

    My question with CS First is that I see that they have several different modules (storytelling, art, music, etc). Is it meant to have all students going through the same one or have students pick the module. Seems it would be challenging to have the students pick the module since there's still a lot of teacher-led group activities to do in each module, which you can't do if everyone is doing something different.

    I was considering going through two modules and then starting in on the EV3 robots but wanted to get your feedback.