One of my colleagues pointed out a couple of weeks ago that Instructables offers free classes on many “makerspace” related topics, such as laser cutting, mold making, and 3d design. I’ve used the site for a few DIY projects, but never knew I could dig deeper with these lessons. I plan to investigate several of these for my own studies, and now I know that I can also refer some of my students to the site, especially if they want to learn more about something I may not have tried yet. It’s a good resource for DIY’ers, educators, and students.
If you really want to take your feedback, reflections, critiques, etc… to a whole new level, you should consider using these IDEO Lifeline Cards. I haven’t used them with my students yet, but just asking myself the questions made me think about my own work differently. The cards are free (and quite beautiful), so download them while you can. Even if the questions are a bit too high level for your particular student age group, applying them to your own life is an intriguing exercise and may give you some insight you have never considered.
Colleen Graves (@gravescolleen) shared some pictures on Twitter a few days ago that showed prototypes she was making of a library data tracker and a classroom exit ticket tracker. Both use the Makey Makey along with some minimal Scratch programming. I begged for some more details, and she has released the instructions here. (That sentence makes it sound like she only published the directions because I asked, but I’m pretty sure the two events just happened in chronological order because Colleen planned it that way – not because I have the power to demand anyone to explain things in detail just so I can copy their ideas.)
Could the fact that I just noticed the title of this NBC show is a double entendre be in any way related to the fact that I now spend my days teaching teenagers?
It could just be that Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler hosting a show about amazing makers distracted me from any other interpretation of the title other than crafting incredible stuff.
If you are a STEMer, STEAMer, or STREAMer, you should definitely take a peek at this weekly show to get some inspiration. Though it is not directly related to education, you will get some ideas of what is possible with a little bit of imagination and a lot of glitter and balsa wood.
You can stream the episodes here if you don’t have NBC or Hulu. So far, my favorite has been Episode 2, in which the makers were challenged to design forts and corresponding toys for children. The versatility and creativity of each entry blew me away. I am really glad I’m not one of the judges.
If you love watching people rip each other apart or run naked through the woods, then this show might not be your cup of tea. But if you enjoy seeing people who appear to be genuinely nice and sometimes a little bit goofy produce amazing works of art with unusual tools and supplies, “Making It” should be your goal for tonight.
Okay, that didn’t quite come out the way I meant it. But you can take it any way you want. I’m not in charge of your personal life. Most of the time I’m not even in charge of mine.
I’ve been combing the internet for projects to do with my engineering students (grades 8-10), and ran across these lessons from Design Squad. They don’t quite fit my curriculum, but I thought I would share them since I know a lot of my colleagues are working on incorporating STEAM into the curriculum. If you look on the left side of the page, you will see other lessons and activities that you may be able to use in areas that range from electricity to structures.
I have included Design Squad in posts since 2013, but I don’t think I have mentioned this particular page before. Even if I have, it bears repeating! This site offers a lot of creative challenges and videos that are great for any STEAM classroom. And it’s not just for elementary students. I used one of their videos today with my secondary students on isometric drawing, and it was the perfect introduction to a brand new topic for them. After you browse the site, click here to visit their YouTube channel, chock full of videos on all sorts of design topics.
If you are looking for 3d printing project ideas and curriculum, Stratasys has many free educational resources – you just have to know where to look for them and be willing to give Stratasys your contact info to download the lesson plans and project ideas.
From what I can tell, Stratasys is a company that focuses on providing 3d printing solutions for industrial use. If you download any curriculum from them, you will probably receive an e-mail or two within a few days asking how they can help you with your 3d printing needs. The inquiries are worth it, however, in order to have access to the activities and lessons you can use with your students.
I have downloaded the Lessons and Project Ideas, Semester Curriculum, and 3d Printing Modules. Depending on the experience of your students, most of the resources are good for middle and high school students. You can integrate them into a STEAM curriculum, use them as stand-alone lessons, or make them accessible to students in your Maker Space to jump start some ideas.
My students are fascinated with Cubelets. It would be easy to just dump the box of Cubelets on the floor and walk away for 45 minutes because they would use all of that time to explore. Exploration time is great, and I definitely recommend it (maybe not for 45 minutes), but you won’t maximize the learning potential of these modular robots without offering the students some guidance and some carefully worded challenges.
Modular Robotics recently unveiled an updated version of its Cubelets lesson plans that can help teachers from PreK-12 find ways to make the most of Cubelets. The lessons are not detailed, but they are perfect for any educator who is new to using Cubelets in the classroom and looking for how to introduce them to the students, and there are tons of ideas for taking it further.
If you are not familiar with Cubelets, here is a post I did that I included in my Makerspace Essentials list. I don’t think that you should spend a lot of money on “things” for a Makerspace or a classroom, but if you can get a grant or have the budget Cubelets are one of the few products that I recommend purchasing. They provide an endless supply of entertainment and education.