Remember the good ol’ days at summer camp, weaving cotton loops on a square metal loom and proudly showing Mom and Dad the beautiful potholder you made just for them? Let’s bring the fun and excitement of weaving on a potholder loom to the Wilson Makerspace!
Weaving is an outlet for artistic expression as students mix and match colors and actually create new color combinations. Weaving encourages S.T.E.A.M. skills as it is a great introduction into sorting, shapes and patterns.
I wrote a DonorsChoose.org project for these looms but before I did, I made sure that it was sustainable. We make “yarn” and loops for the potholder loom by cutting up old T-shirts.
A local church donated two huge bins of puppets to our Makerspace! 🙂
The students had a blast performing Jack in the Beanstalk. We did several live shows for students visiting the library (and the principal!) but I quickly learned that the best way to involve as many students as possible was to videotape each scene and splice them together using iMovie. We also experimented with filming the scenes in front of green butcher paper and using Do ink Green Screen app to add a fairy tale background.
My students can’t wait to perform again!
I was awarded a grant to introduce Coding ‘n Bots in our Makespace. The grant was for:
You can learn more about “Why Robotics for Young Children Today? at the KinderLab Robotics website.
My students loved working with the Ozobots! We had the most success with the color-coded stickers that came with the Ozobots.
Code Master Programming Logic Game
We just pulled these out last week. Originally, I thought I was going to have “Coding and ‘Bot” Workshops where everyone would be working on coding at the same time. So I needed different options besides just the KIBO, Ozobots and code.org.
I was surprised to see how many 5th graders enjoy this game.
Here is a short video on the KIBO Robot. Sorry for the poor quality. I had to splice out the student’s face so it’s a bit choppy.
I know you don’t need money to start a makerspace but having funds has made the process so much more fun!
- Family and Friends – My sons thoughtfully gave me seed money when I first started up the makerspace. Friends generously donated LEGOS, puppets and craft supplies. My family and friends are SO supportive!
- School/District – The district STEM coordinator funded our paper circuit project. I was able to borrow six Snap Circuits Kits from the Teacher Support Center. My principal had LCAP funds available and purchased our green screen.
- Grants – I applied for two grants. In August, I received a grant from Foundation for Sanger Schools to purchase programmable robots. Last month, Wonderful Education funded five Quadrilla Marble Runs. I am so thankful to both organizations!
- Fund Raising – Last year we made bracelets and sold them at Grandparents’ Day. We netted over $100.
- DonorsChoose.org – I spent Winter Break researching DonorsChoose.org as a funding source. In our district, you have to receive board approval before posting projects, but otherwise, it seems quite doable. I have two projects up right now, both with matching offers. Here’s my DonorsChoose.org page if you want to take a peek.
I started the Wilson Makerspace in February, 2016. What an adventure! Some random thoughts:
- The Wilson Makerspace is open recess/lunch on Tuesdays,Wednesdays and occasionally Fridays. We no longer use passes; the first 25 – 30 students who walk through the door get to participate.
- Rules 1) No stealing. 2) Treat others respectfully. 3) Use a quiet voice. 4) When the timer goes off, stop what you are doing and clean up immediately.
- Work in Progress – We have a limited number of Knifty Knitters and looms. When these tools are in use, no one else can use them. We use a “work in progress” form to keep track of a student’s progress. If a project hasn’t been touched in two weeks, we assume it’s been abandoned and let another student use the loom/knitter.
- Publicity – I publicize the Wilson Makerspace on Facebook, Twitter, and via this blog. I have a Powerpoint presentation that I update monthly. I also send updates to my principal (which he forwards to others in our district).
Our Quadrilla Marble Runs arrived this week. My students are so excited!
Some of my students didn’t know what a marble run was, so I gave a brief explanation, handed them the marbles, and let them experience the magic for themselves!
I overheard some great questions and observations:
1) If all the rails are horizontal, what makes the marbles move?
2) Why did the marbles get stuck in the same place?
3) Why did some of the marbles shoot out in one direction and not the other?
Gravity Maze Marble Run
For a little variety, we also have Gravity Maze Marble Runs!