This is a guest post written by Assistant Head of Lower School, Chelsey Watkins
We are excited to announce that the Lower School Makerspace is officially OPEN and students have already been putting it to good use!
If you pop into this space, be prepared! You might see…
- 3rd graders constructing a replica Mayflower that won’t capsize under the weight of its passengers
- 4th grade and Kindergarten STEM+ buddies designing a “Turkey Hideout” using a variety of building materials
- 5th graders strategically planning and creating a physical representation of their school day using Legos.
This space is quite unique and allows teachers and students the opportunity to engage in meaningful problem solving, design thinking, and STEM+ work as an enhancement to our core curriculum.
The Lower School Makerspace Committee has worked hard to establish a mission and vision that will support students and teachers as they enter this space to imagine, create, and design. It is important to share this language with our Lower School families so that an extension of this learning can take place at home. It is our hope that your children will start sharing their experiences in the Makerspace with you and that you will challenge them with questions about the work that they are engaged in.
The Lower School Makerspace will provide resources and space for students to spark curiosity, inspire creativity, and affirm ongoing problem solving related to the authentic situations found in a complex and interdependent world.
In this space, students will apply a design process grounded in the competencies of the Lead From Here Framework.
Each student will:
ASK: communicate by asking questions to help identify problems that need to be solved
IMAGINE: reflect empathetically about these problems and envision potential solutions
PLAN: strategically and collaboratively design solutions
CREATE: show resourcefulness and creativity with how time and available materials are utilized
TEST: demonstrate resilience while experimenting with new ideas
ADAPT: exhibit adaptability and growth-mindedness in an effort to find the most effective and efficient solution to a problem
Check out some recent “Moments in the Makerspace” below where students applied elements of our new design process!
3rd Grade Mayflower Challenge
Students worked in collaborative teams to design a replica Mayflower using specific building materials. The goal was to 1) create a design that would float and 2) maximize the number of Pilgrims (pennies) the Mayflower could hold. Students had to go through the design process a few times to find the most effective and efficient designs.
2nd Grade “3 Little Pigs” Challenge
To launch the 2nd grade force and motion unit, teams were challenged to construct a house for the Three Little Pigs that could withstand the force of the wolf’s “huff and puff.” Each team had a variety of materials that they could use to construct their houses (tin foil, popsicle sticks, clay, toothpicks, construction paper.) After teams constructed their houses, the teacher, acting as the Big Bad Wolf, would try to blow down the house, first by blowing and then with a hair dryer. If the team’s house withstood the force of both winds, they had successfully designed a house that could withstand the force of the wolf’s “huff and puff.”
5th Grade Digital Citizenship – Private and Personal Information
5th Grade students created a visual representation of their day or “real world” using Legos. Through the building of this physical model, students were able to reflect on where and how frequently they might be sharing private information about themselves with others. Some of the essential questions guiding this unit included:
- How can you protect your private information online?
- When should you share information online?
- What are online privacy policies and do they keep my private information private?
- Is privacy in our “real” world different from privacy in our “digital” world?
- In my real world, am I mostly sharing private or personal information?
4th Grade/K STEM+ Buddies Turkey Hideout Challenge
Our 4th grade and Kindergarten students have partnered up as STEM+ Buddies this year. In this challenge, STEM+ buddies collaborated to plan, design, and build a “turkey hideout” in an effort to completely conceal their turkey and save it from becoming part of a Thanksgiving feast. Buddy groups moved to various stations as they explored the properties and features of different building materials such as Plus Plus Units, Kapla Blocks, Lincoln Logs, and Legos.
Like all new endeavors, our Makerspace is ever-evolving! We want to be able to adapt to the needs and interests of our students and grow right along with them as they develop their “maker” capabilities. We are so thankful for the vision and generous support of our donor who has made this space and all of its growing resources available to our Lower School students. If you have a particular interest in and passion for “maker education” and STEM+ learning, please contact Chelsey Watkins at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how you can support our Makerspace and get involved!
Assistant Head of Lower School