Coding ‘n Bots

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.

20170124_095822-2Code 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

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.
  • – I spent Winter Break researching 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 page if you want to take a peek.

This ‘n That

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).

Marble Runs!

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!













I don’t know if other makerspaces are utilizing Spirograph, but it’s been a big hit at Wilson Elementary.

Students practice on white paper. When they get the hang of it, they move on to black paper and gel pens The results are breathtaking!






Building a LEGO Wall

I am lazy. I wanted a LEGO Wall without the effort of measuring, cutting, or gluing.

So I was ecstatic when I heard about Brik Tile – LEGO Compatible Wall Tiles. The tiles have adhesive on the back. All you do is peel and stick on a clean wall. It really was that easy.

It took about 15 minutes to put up this  40″ x 40″ LEGO Wall.

Next time Brik Tile goes on sale, we’ll probably purchase two additional 6-packs and expand our LEGO Wall to  50″ x 60″.

The tiles are removeable and won’t damage most surfaces.