Monday, January 14, 2019

"I Just Don't Know"

Sometimes, it is ok to just tell a student, "I just don't know." That sounds crazy, but in a world where there is pressure to have all of the answers all of the time, we need to model for students the ability to say, "IDK."

In the Makerspace, I find myself telling students I'm unsure how to do something and then sitting with them to figure out how to do it. It allows the teacher to become an active learner alongside the students. When students can see their teacher not know something and be willing to learn something new, it can encourage them to do the same.

MakerEd is nuts because it covers just about anything that anyone can make. It is impossible to know it all. A simple IDK has really helped students see that teachers do not have all of the answers and that is ok. It also showed them that teachers are life long learners. It's what we want for our students, so we need to make sure we show it too.



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Getting Your Hands Dirty #MakerEd

I have spent the last few days working with 9th grade students in the Makerspace. I was asked to give them a design challenge and go over the Design Thinking process. It is an addition to the 9th grade curriculum that I'm very happy to see take place.

I put together a variation of the Toxic Popcorn Challenge. Students need to use the Design Thinking process to try and transfer corn kernels into another container without entering a 4 foot radius around the toxic container. They are allowed to use anything they can find in the makerspace. Traditionally, this project is given over the course of a class period and the supplies are limited. Part of the project was to have students explore the makerspace and really see what it had to offer. Here are some pictures that showcase what the students worked on so far.



There are so many different approaches to the challenge it has been great to see the students dive into the project. So are making giant scissors, others are focusing on tension strength to hold the containers, and another group has focused on a giant clamp. It is so cool to see the problem solving and design going into their potential solutions. 

The majority of these students have never held a drill or saw for a project. It was so awesome to be able to teach a student how to use Mitre Saw and a Power Drill. Changing bits on a drill and adjusting bit size to get the right size screw through are not skills you just pick up randomly. These students had no problem getting their hands dirty and that is the key. I'm so proud of our school, University Liggett, for working hard to create an environment that focuses on creating makers and learners and not just grade earners. These students worked into their lunch to finish part of their project. They wanted to learn how to do the things to solve their problem. Students need to get their hands dirty to learn sometimes. Do that, teachers need to get their hands dirty as well. 

I can't wait to share the end products with everyone. Keep an eye on Instagram, I post maker work there often.  

Hugs and High Fives, 

NP