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Maker Space

Follow Along with the Engineers of Room 1
There has been a push in the United States to place a larger focus on STEM subjects (Science Technology Engineering Math). The STEM movement encourages classrooms to study all of the STEM subjects, and to learn how they work together. In Room 1 we will do this in our Maker Space. Follow along with what we're up to. Our 3D printer will be a part of this, but we've got a separate webpage  for that. 

This is a great video explaining the STEM movement.
Maker Space Challenge #8
March 18, 2016
Leprechaun Defense System
During the week of St. Patrick's Day we read about castles in Ireland, which inspired us to write a story about a leprechaun who was attacking the Irish castle we live in. So, in Makerspace students designed a defense system to protect themselves from the leprechaun. 

The students were given these materials to work with as well as masking tape.

I used our 3D printer to make a leprechaun target to hit with the ball. 

I've learned that students love to plan their Makerspace projects just as much as they love to build them. It also gets them to create more thoughtful designs. 

For this project I also asked students to create a supply list, so on build day they would know how much of each material to get from me.

No on was able to hit the leprechaun but they did some great work. Students created catapults, slingshots, blow guns and other designs that defy description. It was wonderful to watch them work and problem solve. They are great engineers!

Maker Space Challenge #7
February 2, 2016
Take apart a laptop


Mr. Grumm came in today with 6 old laptops that he'd rescued from being thrown in the trash. We had a great time taking them apart and learning about the key pieces of a laptop. We got to see the wires that connect the monitor and keyboard and the antenna that runs the wifi. We took out the battery, memory card, fan and more. It was a great exploration of what all is inside of a laptop that makes it work. 

Maker Space Challenge #6
December 7, 2015
Float Challenge 

For this challenge I allowed students to form groups of 2 or 3 and use a piece of aluminum foil, 4 straws, 4 small plastic cups, 4 popsicle sticks, a sheet of foam and unlimited masking tape to build a "boat" that would hold as much weight as possible 

I spent more time on this project than I have on others and it was worth it. We spent about 30 minutes the day before learning about the challenge, seeing the materials, and sketching and discussing plans and ideas with our partners. I was pleasantly surprised with how excited and engage the students were in the planning process. 

The students had about 20 minutes to build one day, and I gave them a nice 45 minute block of time on the following day. It was nice to have this time. Students were unrushed and had time to build, test their design and make alterations. 

The "boats" they constructed were impressive. Most boats were able to hold 2 or 3 rolls of quarters. Two boats held 4 rolls of quarters (all that I had) so I gave them an advanced challenge. I gave them a smaller piece of aluminum foil, 4 straws, 2 popsicle sticks, and 2 cups (no foam) and asked them to build another "boat."  

Maker Space Challenge #5
November 6, 2015
Cup Tower
This challenge was simple: build the tallest free standing stack of plastic cups as you can. The students enjoyed the challenge. They were given about 30 minutes to build. I would measure their structure when they asked and then encourage them to keep working and see if they could make it any higher. None of the students tried anything beyond the classic pyramid structure though.   

Maker Space Challenge #4
September 30, 2015
Marshmallow and Toothpick Tower Part II
We took a second try at the marshmallow toothpick tower challenge using full sized marshmallows this time. The full sized marshmallows are definitely the way to go, and the students were anxious to have a second try at this challenge. For some reason our marshmallows were sticky and gooey. It got a bit messy. Next year I will open the package the day before to make dry them out a bit. 

Maker Space Challenge #3
September 21, 2015
Marshmallow and Toothpick Tower

Our next Maker Space project was to build the tallest free standing structure possible out of toothpicks and miniature marshmallows. The kids loved the challenge and got to work right away.

Above is a picture of the tallest tower that stayed standing long enough to be measured. The store brand mini marshmallows were a bit tricky to work with. We're going to try the challenge again with full size, name brand marshmallows next week.

I was glad to see students working together with their partner, and persevering even when they got frustrated. They didn't give up when they ran into a problem with their approach, instead they worked on a solution or tried another approach. 
Maker Space Challenge #2   
September 9, 2015
Taking apart a VHS tape

I'm hoping to balance our Maker Space projects between constructing and deconstructing. Today, was our first deconstruction. Students were put in pairs and given a VHS tape to take apart.

We recorded what the tape looked like before deconstruction in our Engineering Notebooks. We also drew diagrams of what we found inside. 

The students did really well with the tiny screws, and taking turns. Stretching out the tape to see how long and strong it is got a little bit out of control, but we pulled ourselves back together quite well. 
In the end we sat down and talked about how we think a VHS tape works and asked questions. 

Maker Space Challenge #1 
August 28, 2015
Building structures to stand up to the Big Bad Wolf (aka a hairdryer)

In our first few days of school we read the classic fairy tale The 3 Three Little Pigs. Then the students were put into groups of 3 and given a building material: dominoes, popsicle sticks or sponge squares. Their challenge was to build a house that could stand up to the Big Bad Wolf (aka a hairdryer). They had a great time.


In the end the class agreed the dominoes were the best building material because they were hard and heavy. The popsicle sticks were the most difficult building material because they were tricky to stack. We saw that having a group to work with means that you have someone to help you if you get stuck, but it can be hard to work with others too. The students did a great job of persevering and discovered some great strategies.