New Unit Teaches Creativity and Problem Solving
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."
“I use phones to demonstrate innovation,” said Mrs. Brady, holding an old desk phone with a curly-Q cord. “I also show children a cordless phone and an iPhone and we consider the phone's evolution from practical and design perspectives."
"We end our unit exploring a few of today's most innovative thinkers and the challenges they are working on . My goal is to give children the preparation and inspiration to become agents of change now and in the future."
makerspace in action
Robotic Mouse for a Time Traveler
Chloe and Nina are building a robotic mouse to accompany the time traveler on her adventures. Here you see the head and body of the mouse. Their next step is to build the undercarriage which will incorporate a set of steamroller type wheels made from empty spools in two sizes.
Sleeping Solution for a Tribal Child
A sleeping solution for the tribal child made by Kye and Spencer. It has a swing, a removable ladder to prevent animals or enemies from climbing up to the platform, a roll up bed cover and a cover to protect the child in the rain.
Living Space for a Ninja
Living quarters for a Ninja created by Parker and Matthew, complete with a plate of yummy noodles to keep the ninja fortified on stake-outs at his control station.
EMMT for the Merpeople
The EMMT is an emergency medical transporter for a merman and his community. It has a conveyor belt to allow the merpeople to enter and exit the vehicle if unable to swim, and a waterproof capsule. It is equipped with propeller blades, a light source and a propeller for underwater mobility.
Boot for a Spy
Jessica, Amy and Tillie made a convertible boot for the spy, with a jet launcher in the heel. The button on the side activates the launcher, but the conventional style of the boot allows her to blend in during her "day job."
Sneaker for a Werewolf
Haley and Alyson made a turbo powered sneaker for the werewolf so that he can make a quick getaway when he begins to transform, allowing him to keep his secret from his human friends. It also has a sneaker sole to keep his wolf footprints from leaving a mark during his travels