Saturday, December 5, 2015

Making the Most of the Maker Movement

At the beginning of the year, we had a team-building activity to move 6 red cups to a different layout without ever touching them.

When parents of my 5th grade class came to see what we do during the school day during a Parent Coffee this fall, we had teams of parents and students trying to construct the tallest marshmallow-topped spaghetti tower they could.  (The vast array of approaches was intriguing!)

During Earth Day last year, we had a Family Maker Night, where the students invented something at home out of recyclables and through repurposing.  We had an evening of invention and creation for parents and kids alike!

Why?  The answer for all of these:  to highlight the importance of the "design process."  Because that's what we all do, all the time, to be creative problem solvers.

It's a philosophy we have embraced as part of the school culture.  It's not much different that what we do when we ask students to create, craft, revise, edit, and transform a story from a draft in language arts/writing workshop.  It's no different that the "guess, test, and revise" math problem solving strategy where we work to make an educated guess and work from our trials to land on the final answer. It's not much different that what you try to do when you are working through any real life problem solving problem where plan A, possibly plan B, and sometimes plan C don't pan out.

You identify the problem, brainstorm, design, build, test/evaluate, redesign, rebuild, keep testing until you have something to share.

As part of an group I belong to outside of school of current and retired educators, this year our meetings are focusing on trends of education.  I started talking to them about the things our Tech Director does with the 3D printer and some of his Maker Lab projects for the 1st through 5th graders (as well as the general philosophy of the school)...and I swiftly put on the docket of group speakers to talk about the Maker Movement trend.  That presentation is here below--answering the question of "what is the maker movement" and how does it benefit our students today midst a world of trying to soak in 21st Century skills.

What Is The Maker Movement? from Vicki Dabrowka

Photos from my camera, Design process from powerpoint created collaboratively with my tech teachers at my school and uploaded to SLideshare: 

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