littleBits Robot

 

littleBits robot
courtesy of littleBits

I thought building a littleBits Robot would be a fun activity for my students. He beeps, his eyes light up, his arm swings and he rolls around. I did a practice run this afternoon.

OMG. Building a robot is harder than it looks. After many tries, everything worked except the “body” was too heavy for the cardboard wheel so the little guy couldn’t roll around. I put the wheel on his head so he could have a spinning hat instead.

 

 

Why do colors sing?

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.” ~ Pablo Picasso

WEEK THREE

Third graders join in on the fun at the Wilson Makerspace!

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Here’s another adorable coloring page also from DawnNicole Designs.

 

hello spring 2
Courtesy of DawnNicole Designs

 

RESOURCES

 

The Wilson Makerspace is Open for Business!

After weeks of reading everything I could get my hands on, dreaming of possibilities, and agonizing over what to purchase, the Wilson Makerspace is now officially open!

WEEK ONE

I started out with a guided project and showed my students how to use the Kumihimo looms (Check out Diana Redina’s great blog post on  The Value of Guided Projects in Makerspaces).  I began with this activity as it is easy to learn, we have a lot of donated yarn, and once students learn how to do the basic pattern, they can teach other students what to do. We only have 20 minutes, so I set up the looms before their arrival.

There was a little confusion over what was “counter clockwise” but all in all it was a great first day!

 

Logistics – To limit participation (I didn’t want 60 kids to show up at the same time), I gave the 5th grade teacher tickets to pass out.

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WEEK TWO

The students could choose between LEGOS, K’Nex, Kumihimo weaving or origami. They looked to me for instruction and I simply said, “You can do whatever you want. Just remember to clean up your mess before you leave.”

A group of boys rushed to the K’Nex table. I guess it looked too complicated as they settled in at the LEGOS table.

 

One student taught another student how to use the Kumihimo loom! 🙂

When a group of girls asked me to show them how to fold origami, I showed them the book and gently encouraged them to figure it out for themselves. They made origami flowers.

 

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Kumihimo bracelet weaving was the favorite activity, followed by LEGOS and then origami.

 

Logistics – The first week, I invited just one 5th grade class. For week two, both 5th grade classes were invited. One teacher used a lottery system to choose his students. The other teacher had a sub; she used the Makerspace as a reward for good behavior.

I was pleasantly surprised when several of my Maker Kids dropped in before school and at recess to finish their Kumihimo weaving. As of right now, the Makerspace is open one lunch per week.  I’m fine with drop-ins, as long as they aren’t interrupting  a class.

Currently, I am piloting the program with the 5th graders. We will expand to include 3rd grade next week!

Transforming a blah space

The Wilson library is housed in the same building as the Media Center. The room is huge, and if I’m not careful, it is easy for it to look utilitarian and not inviting.

The first step was carving out a dedicated area for our Makerspace. That part was easy. I had a spot already picked out. All I had to do was declutter and move tables. Fortunately, all our tables are on wheels.

The next step was decorating. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I knew I had to brighten it up so my students (and others) would know something special was happening in this space.

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While shopping at IKEA, I found these cute 11″ x 15″ paintbrush posters on sale for $.25 a pair. What a bargain! I purchased nine sets and on the drive back to Sanger, brainstormed how to use the posters for the biggest impact. I knew I wanted to group them together but it was my husband’s idea to create the box that says “MAKE” (don’t we make a great team!) 😉

Our Makerspace has a Fiber Studio stocked with yarn and  Kumihimo looms. Eventually I will add Knifty Knitters, crochet hooks and other fiber tools.

 

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A great resource for wall art is Krissy Venosdale’s Maker Posters!

signage
venspired.com

Future Plans

I am thinking about adding a LEGO wall and white board tables, but for now, this is our Makerspace. 🙂

 

 

 

Making a Makerspace – Paper Circuits

I’m really excited about Paper Circuits!

At one of our meetings we were given a  chibitronics STEM Starter Kit.

I didn’t know anything about Paper Circuits at that time, but I am having a blast learning more about this fascinating art form.

I’ve made a simple circuit….

…and I’ve made a parallel circuit. With a little trial and error, I was able to light up a greeting card.

 

COST

The chibitronics  LED stickers cost about $1 each, so they’re a little pricey (sign up for their Educators Discount).  You can also use 3mm LED.  I found a pack of 75 for under $5  on Amazon, so that is another option.

The copper foil tape is reasonable at $5 – $10 per roll.  You can get them at chibitronics, Amazon or at the hardware store (look for copper “slug” tape).

Each project needs a coin battery.  I found them at IKEA, eight batteries for $1.99.

The STEM Coordinator has hinted that the district may be able to fund this project. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

 

FUTURE PROJECTS
Some future projects that I’m curious to learn more about and share with my students:

mural

  • Clothes Circuits – I haven’t researched this yet,  but I definitely want to learn more.

 

Making a Makerspace – LEGOS and K’NEX

LEGOS and K’NEX seem to be the mainstays of Makerspaces.

LEGOS – Fortunately, we had a box of  LEGOS stored in our garage.  My mother-in-law also graciously donated some LEGOS.

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LEGO Creation

K’NEX Education Elementary Construction Set –  I wanted this set as there are enough pieces for three students to build at the same time. It is no longer being sold but I found it for 60% off at Educators Outlet so I scooped it up.

I didn’t realize when I purchased the set that it was a mixture of regular and mini-sized K’NEX pieces, and it also included a lot of LEGO-like pieces. The LEGO-like pieces don’t stick together very well so it can be frustrating to use.

knex