Tag Archives: Cardboard Challenge

Ozobot Cardboard Mini Challenge Playbook

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge, Gigantic, ENORMOUS fan of the Global Cardboard Challenge.  Here are some of my lessons learned from last year’s incredible adventure.  And here are some of the reasons I love the Cardboard Challenge so much.

This year’s Cardboard Challenge culminates on October 10th, 2015. You can read more about it on the Imagination Foundation’s website .

One of the companies partnering with Imagination Foundation this year is Ozobot.  For those of you who don’t know, Ozobot is a tiny robot that performs actions based on colored lines.  The latest version of the robot, Ozobit, also has the capability to be programmed using Ozoblockly.

For ideas on how to use little Ozobot as part of a cardboard creation, you can download Ozobot’s Cardboard Mini Challenge Playbook, which has Cardboard Challenge resources and activity suggestions.

You don’t need an Ozobot to participate in the Global Cardboard Challenge – but it sure can bring an additional element of fun to your project!

Image from: BenSpark on Flickr
Image from: BenSpark on FlickrOzo

 

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Life After the Cardboard Arcade

This is the 2nd year that I’ve participated in the annual Global Cardboard Challenge, inspired by Caine’s Arcade.  After last year, I had three goals in mind for this year’s event:

  • increase the number of students making games
  • increase the number of students who play the games
  • find a way to integrate the project with raising money for a charity

Last year, my GT students at the school were the only ones who participated.  This year, we started a school Maker Club.  With the help of two other amazing sponsors, we were able to add 24 more students to the roster of game designers.

To increase the number of players, we changed venues.  We moved the arcade from our school to the party rooms at a place called Main Event.  Main Event is an entertainment complex near us that offers bowling, laser tag, a ropes course, and video arcade as well as food and drink.  So, families could enjoy our games and make a night of it.

There were some amazing games included in our arcade.  Two of the more notable ones were a huge Sphero obstacle course created by a group of 6 students and a human fortune-telling machine! (Check these projects out in the slide show and videos below.)

For our charity, the students selected Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, a local organization that helps wildlife that have been injured to recover and return to their habitats as well as offering “forever” homes to wild animals that will never be able to survive on their own.

Our event went really well.  We raised over $700 for our charity and everyone seemed to have a fabulous time.  As an added bonus, sponsors from WRR came to our arcade and selected some of the games to be donated to the organization.  They will be sending us pictures and videos of the games being used for primate enrichment!

And that leads me to wonder how many other ways our games could have a second life next year.  Many of the students dedicated hours to creating their masterpieces.  It would be nice to give those games more than one day in the spotlight.  Monkeys aren’t the only ones that might appreciate them once the Big Event ends.  How about donating them to a Children’s Shelter, a hospital, or possibly a local library?  Admittedly, none of those is quite as exciting as watching a monkey play your game, but there are definitely many ways these creative projects can keep on giving…

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iDream of Boxes

The official date of this year’s Global Cardboard Challenge is October 11, 2014.  But my students and our school Maker Club have been working on their projects for the last few weeks.  We will be hosting a Cardboard Arcade on October 15th, and donating the money to a charity chosen by the students, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation. Come and join us at Main Event if you live in the San Antonio area!

I really do dream of boxes right now.  And I look at every package that I receive much differently – sometimes the box is more exciting than what it contains.

cardboard arcade

To encourage our school community to attend our event on the 15th, I used iMovie on one of the school iPads and created a “Fairytale” trailer.  (I ended up doing a little tweaking on my Mac at home, too.) In case you ever want to use the Movie Trailer feature of iMovie with your students, I highly recommend these great fillable PDF templates from Tony Vincent.  Doing a Movie Trailer is a lot easier when you plan the shots ahead of time using these forms.

Usually I would have the students create the movie – but if you read my Monday post you will see that there have been some technical difficulties in my world lately and we ran out of time.  So I compiled pics and videos of the students instead – and got some input from a few of them of what to include. Here’s our iMovie glimpse of what they have been doing. (Or you can watch it below.)  You can also see some pics of the students in action on our class blog.

What Breaks Your Heart?

My GT classes and our after-school Maker Club are participating in this year’s Global Cardboard Challenge.  Select projects will be chosen to bring to a local party/entertainment center, Main Event.  We will be inviting the community to play the games for a $1, as well as selling wristbands to access the other fun activities at the facility. All of the money we raise will be going to a charity that the students choose.

But, how can I get several classes of students – in addition to the 24 students in the Maker Club – to decide on which charity will receive our donation?  I decided to use an idea from Angela Maiers, who is internationally renowned for her motivational speeches about how we should Choose to Matter.  One of my favorite quotes from her is, “You are a genius and the world needs your contribution.”

In a blog post last year, Angela described the process for:

  • helping students to determine what matters the most to them
  • determining what “breaks their hearts” about their passions
  • thinking of possible solutions to those problems.
by @Kara Dziobek
by @Kara Dziobek

So far, I’ve walked two of my classes through the first two phases.  It has been very enlightening.  Similar to the activity that Angela describes from teacher Karen MacMillan, I had students mind-map their passions in the middle of a piece of paper.  Then they drew branches from each of those that identified what breaks their hearts regarding those topics.

As an example, I told them that teaching and learning are both passions for me.  What breaks my heart is that there are still children, particularly girls, who are denied the right to an education.

One boy had brainstormed every single sport he could think of as a passion.  When asked what broke his heart about them, he replied, “When I lose a game.”  I had to question him a bit more to get a deeper, less self-centered answer – “when people get injured.”

After we shared the things that break their hearts, we looked for trends or patterns.  Sports-related injuries was a big one with my 3rd graders, as well as cruelty to animals and pollution.  The latter two were also common themes with my 4th graders.  Today, I will get feedback from 5th grade.  Armed with the information from three grade levels, we can then try to find a charity that many of them will find meaningful.

We will also be holding on to these papers to use as jumping-off points for this year’s Genius Hour projects.

I really loved this process for so many reasons.  It tells me about what is important to my students and gives them a voice.  It shows them that they have responsibilities to be contributors as well as consumers.  And, it helps them to understand themselves a little better.

I’ll keep you posted as we continue on this journey 🙂

Maker Club

As a powerful response to the rigidity of curriculum that has overwhelmed our nation’s schools during the last couple of decades, Maker Spaces are popping up in communities all over.  Many of these are stand-alone locations, but more and more are becoming expansions to libraries, museums, and schools.

In a recent video that I did for @GustafsonBrad’s #30secondtake Challenge, I mentioned that “making” is not about the space, but the time.  Time to create, especially during school hours, has become an endangered species.

In an attempt to head off the extinction of creativity, I applied for several grants during the past year.  I do have the good fortune to have an empty classroom next door (which my students named B.O.S.S. HQ – Building of Super Stuff Headquarters), which was great for the 50 or so students that I service in the Gifted and Talented program.  But what about the rest of our school?  With the materials purchased with these grants, participation from many more students is possible.

So, Phase II of my grand Maker Studio plan was to start a Maker Club that meets once a week after school. Students in 2nd-4th grades were allowed to apply (5th graders already have several other clubs to choose from), and we randomly chose 24 students from over 40 applications.

I say, “we” because two awesome teachers graciously joined me in co-sponsoring the club, and I am very thankful for their help!  Our first club project has been the Global Cardboard Challenge, and having three adults to help out 24 students as they chop through cardboard is a great boon.  (See yesterday’s post for some awesome tools that you might want to stock up on for participating in the challenge.)

After the Cardboard Challenge, we are going to do programming, video creations (including green screen and stop-motion), and electric circuits.

Phase III is to have some of these students trained as leaders so other students can visit B.O.S.S. HQ during the school day – probably during recess time.  I’m also hoping to collaborate with our librarian to devote a center in the school library to making.

I was thrilled to have the majority of the parents who filled out paperwork for Maker Club offered to help out during club meetings and other events.  Getting the community involved is definitely part of my vision as well.

If you are interested in learning more about Maker Spaces, particularly in an educational setting, check out my Pinterest Board here!

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Klever Tools for Kreating – and a Kontest!

We are finally in full swing with gifted classes and the after-school Maker Club.  As I’ve mentioned, we are participating in the Global Cardboard Challenge.  I thought I would share with you some great supplies that you may want to purchase if you have money to invest (particularly grant money).

With a grant we received this year, I bought a huge supply of Classroom Kits from Makedo.  These pieces are great for inspiring imaginative cardboard projects.  My favorite pieces in our sets are the hinges, but the hole puncher tools are invaluable, too.  I do not currently see the Classroom Kit available (it appears to be sold out), but I do see a “Make Anything Kit” that has new, interesting tools like “scrus” and a “scrudriver.”  One caveat if you are planning to buy from this company is to check with your school about rules for purchasing.  The company is in Australia, and does not accept purchase orders (but they do accept checks and credit cards.) There are some products from them on Amazon, but the Classroom Kits are not yet available through that route.

Makedo Classroom Kit
Makedo Classroom Kit

Speaking of Amazon, get thee to their site to get this great deal on a 5-pack of Klever Kutters (you can purchase these other places, but this is the best deal I’ve found).  Last year, my students really enjoyed using the safety saws that came with the Makedo kit.  Even when I offered to use my box cutters to help them, many students turned me away because they loved the independence the saws gave them.  However, they can take an awfully long time to cut a flap off of a box.  So, this year I ordered a bunch of Klever Kutters (thanks to several of my GT co-workers who saw them mentioned at a conference).  I LOVE these tools.  They are super safe (even safer than scissors in my opinion), and give the students a lot more autonomy while creating.  I still use the box cutters for cutting shapes that need to be more exact out of the boxes, but I have to do a lot less running around with the kids supplied with Klever Kutters.

Klever Kutter
Klever Kutter

With our grant money, we are also receiving some Classroom Kits from Little Bits, and I’m hoping some of my students who already have Little Bits experience from last year will find ways to incorporate them into their Cardboard Creations (make things buzz or light up or something even more fantastic!).  By the way, if you buy anything from Little Bits, be sure to sign up for the Educator Discount (and they do take Purchase Orders, so call their Customer Service number for information on how to go about doing that).  Little Bits has added all kinds of new things since the end of last school year, so be sure to check out their site if you haven’t visited for awhile.

Little Bits Premium Kit
Little Bits Premium Kit

Don’t have any money to buy these awesome supplies?  Check out the Global Cardboard Challenge Make-a-Movie-Trailer Contest; the winners will receive either a Makedo Set or a Little Bits set!

Help Desks

As my students gear up for this year’s Global Cardboard Challenge, they will also be researching a charity to which they will donate the proceeds from their cardboard arcade.  I want them to keep in mind Angela Maier’s mantra, “You are a genius and the world needs your contribution,” and to cultivate their empathy along with their creativity.

Help Desks for Indian children, created by
Help Desks for Indian children, created by Aarambh

As I was thinking about how to inspire my classes this year (many of whom have already seen the Caine’s Arcade videos), I ran across this video from an organization called, “Aarambh.”  Committed to helping students become more comfortable in their schools in rural areas of India, Aarambh found a way to make combination desks/backpacks out of discarded cardboard.  For less than 20 cents in American dollars, a child can be outfitted with this invaluable piece of equipment.  This is a great video to show students so many things:

  • the value of an education
  • how fortunate many of us are to receive a free education with numerous resources
  • how simple, yet creative, ideas can have an incredible positive impact
  • that recycling is not just a luxury but an imperative