Drew uses the hot glue guns to strengthen the joints in his alien abduction machine. Ashley and Sydney open bins of netting, buttons, and cardboard tubes, and carefully consider their options for fabricating rain protection for a giant. Morgan and Olivia confer with Mrs. Brady, their Home and Careers teacher, on the miniature tool belt they are designing.
This is a Maker Space pilot program woven into seventh grade Home and Careers —eighteen days of inventing, exploring, and discovering. It’s a creative expression of Home and Careers' mission: to prepare students to be competent, confident, and caring in managing their personal, family, and career lives.
Andrea Kantor, District Curriculum Developer who visited a class, noted how engaged the students were in their work. " Mrs. Brady's room is alive with an active hum,” she said.
The solutions the students are designing are not for your average human. They are for rock stars, aliens, vampires, and such--characters in a game called Extraordinaires Design Studio by Creativity Hub.
“Each student picks a game card that features a specific character on one side and, on the other, images that convey challenges that each character faces,” said Brady. “Once students identify the needs of their character, they innovate, then sketch to develop a solution. Next, using recycled materials and a large dose of creativity, students create a prototype of their design solution."
“This experience is more focused on the process of design than it is on the appearance of the prototype or product," points out Brady. “The important growth happens along the way—students are working collaboratively, creating, communicating, and evaluating, along with developing problem solving skills and resourcefulness."
Next year this unit of learning will culminate with students tackling a real-world problem and innovating a solution, plans Brady.
"Art, Home and Careers, and Technology classes are MakerSpaces in a school,” said Brady. "All three classes encourages creativity and allow students to make things they are curious about."