Tag Archives: Sylvia Todd

Theme Park Game

Adventure Claw
Adventure Claw

This summer, some other GT teachers and I got together to host some free online classes through Edmodo for our 3rd-5th graders.  My class is called, “Make a Theme Park.”  Each week, the students are invited to make something for a theme park that they have imagined. For the 1st week, the challenge was to build a model of a theme park ride, and the fantabulous Joey Hudy judged.  You can see the post I did on the winners here.  During the second week, the students created theme park mascots, and Braeden the Master of Puppetry was our judge.  Here is the link to that post.  For week #3, I invited Michael Medvinsky (@mwmedvinsky) to judge theme songs created by the students for their parks.  You can find the winner, as well as a link to the Padlet of their submissions, here.

The final week of our “Make a Theme Park” class was judged by Sylvia Todd.  For those of you who don’t know Sylvia, she is the delightful host of Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker Show.  She also, along with Joey Hudy (our 1st week’s judge) appeared at the first White House Maker Faire this summer.  And, she has a book coming out – hopefully very soon!

Sylvia’s task was to judge the games that students to made to go along with their theme parks.  This project assignment was similar to the Global Cardboard Challenge in which some of my students participated last September and October.  Sylvia chose “Adventure Claw” to be the winner for the week.  The game, pictured at the top of this post, was described this way by its maker: “The alligator on top is the claw, and when you pull the string it moves! If you are lucky, you might even get a prize. I was able to pick up a dime.”

Some of the other entries were:

undertheseaUnder the Sea – You get five tries to throw the water balloon through the holes. The eyes are two points each and the mouth is three points (like basketball).

jellyfishdefenseJellyfish Defense – I made a pinball machine. You have 3 lives to try and get as many points as possible. I used magnets to get the double ball and multiball.

whackamouseWhack-a-Mouse – When someone underneath the box pushes up the cups you will have to whack the mice with the cat paw.

Catch Indiana Jones (sorry I don’t have a picture available as only a video was submitted) – Can you catch him? Or will he escape? You get three tries to roll the boulder and hit Indiana Jones. The first Indiana Jones you hit is the one you score points on.

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Don’t Be Bored. Make Something.

Available on Look What Joey's Making!
Available on Look What Joey’s Making!

No one has ever accused me of being artistic.  And, though some might call me “crafty” I’m pretty sure that they don’t mean it in the complimentary sense.  When it comes to technology, I am comfortable. When it comes to Scratch programming language, I’m all over it.  When it comes to making things from scratch, I’m at a loss.

And yet, I sense the need for many of my students to explore the depths of their creativity.  And I realize that, with our ever-increasing reliance on technology, many crafts are becoming lost arts.  This is why the “Maker Movement” has started to become so popular.  It’s why my students embraced the Global Cardboard Challenge so enthusiastically last year (and I have even bigger plans for this year!).  And, it’s why I decided to offer an online class this summer for my students that is all about being off-line and creating. (5 other awesome teachers are offering courses as well – more about that in a future post!)

Make a Theme Park

Since I am, by no means, an expert at making anything but blog posts, I realized that I would need some help if I was going to pull this off.  So, I enlisted the help of some people who actually know what they are doing.  How did I find them? On Twitter, of course.  Joey Hudy is the famous marshmallow cannon maker – now working at Intel.  Michael Medvinsky is an awesome middle school music teacher who integrates technology and making into his classes on a regular basis.  And Sylvia Todd is the amazing talent behind Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker Show (and has a book coming out this summer!)

I want to introduce you to the youngest “teacher” of our class this summer.  His name is Braeden.  If you follow @rafranzdavis on Twitter, then you know her nephew, Braeden.  Rafranz is a must-follow for all of the resources and insights about education that she shares.  But, I was immediately captivated by the pictures she would tweet of Braeden’s creations.  You see, Braeden is developing the skill of making puppets.  We’re not talking sock puppets or putting a drawing on a popsicle stick.  We’re talking Henson-type creations.  You can view some of the amazing puppets he has made on his YouTube channel.

Braeden will be giving tips during one of our “Theme Park” weeks on making a mascot.  He will, through Edmodo, respond to questions from the participants and give advice.  At the end of the week, he will choose a “winner” from the individual and family categories. I am so glad he (and his aunt) agreed to help out – especially after I saw the video below.  This young man knows what he is talking about, and will definitely be able to offer a lot more guidance than I could ever hope to contribute.

Braeden obviously receives incredible support from his family, especially his aunt, who all encourage him to continue in his endeavors.  He is well on his way to becoming a professional puppeteer.  And these are obviously not skills he has learned in school.

If you have, in any way, observed the Rainbow Loom craze that has swept the nation, then you know that young people really want to make things.  What’s exciting is when they stop following instructions, and start venturing out on their own.  That is what we, as adults, should galvanize them to do.

So, if you are a teacher or a parent, and you have any influence over someone who is about to have two months of freedom to do just about anything they want to do, be sure to give them this message from Joey Hudy, “Don’t be bored. Make something.”

Here is a link to my “Make” Pinterest Board in case you need some inspiration.