Saturday, September 6, 2014

Makerspaces... and the Middle School Technology Club

This has been a productive year so far, even fourteen days into the school year! I am doing something interesting this year... starting a middle school technology club that will debut in the next few weeks. Our school is a K-8 school, so I like that I will have the opportunity to work with a broader age range than kindergarten through fifth grade students.

I spent a good portion of the summer (even while traveling) reading about Makerspaces. Using my newly acquired knowledge, I decided to incorporate one in my classroom this year. By clicking on the photo, you will see I have quite a bit of tools, ordinary classroom items needed like scissors and glue sticks, glue guns, different kinds of tape, wood, paper scrolls, and quite a few electrical items. 

The club will be a combination of a Maker and Technology Club. Currently, there are 48 registered members (One-third of them are girls, and more than half are sixth graders. Seven members belong to the middle school chorus, too, which will be exciting because I want to focus a bit on music). The members will be split into either three or four session groups because I will be taking up to sixty students. There will be numerous opportunities for exploration, though there will be guest speakers, high school mentors, and "how to" sessions as well. We are going to begin the year by learning about Internet safety (as well as presence and etiquette), HTML, and blogging. Each student will receive their own HTML and blogging tutorial, though there will be numerous opportunities for learning online as well. This month, they will see some of the technological gadgets for the first time, the first two being the Makey Makey and littleBits. Passion projects will also be discussed (that the members will work on individually or in groups). I will work my hardest over the course of the year and beyond to get the students to communicate with professionals in their field, if they desire. Our group will be very future-oriented and service-driven, as we will use technology to reach out to our school, community, state, nation, and world.

Some of the things we will focus on are-- digital citizenship, anti-bullying initiatives, community service using technology, making and wiring up music with technology, digital video creation and editing, making projects for some of our school's classes and groups, electrically wiring up children's books and artwork, making portfolios for the future, website and weblog creation, and preparing creations to display for our school to see. 

We will be writing grants for several items-- the most substantial being a 3D printer. Here is the specific list of what I would love to acquire, aside from the printer-- 

Elastolite Kit-- $49.95 (x1) 

Littlebits Premium Kit-- $149.95 (x2) 

Littlebits Space Kit-- $189.95 (x1)

Cubelets-- $159.95 (x2)

Grove-- Mixer Pack-- $79.99

Makey Makey-- $49.99 (x2) 

3Doodler 3D Printing Pen-- $99.99 (x2) 

Snap Circuits-- $143.37

Light Kit Snap Circuits-- $54.21

Edge Robotic Arm Kit-- $49.99 (x1) 

Electronics Learning Lab Kit-- $69.99 (x1) 

Make: Robotics Starter Kit-- $79.99 (x1) 

Add-On Kit-- $39.99 (x1) 

I will also be contacting electricians and hardware stores to see what they are willing to donate (or if there is an individual who is willing to mentor the group at some point and time). 

In establishing the group, I am focusing on Common Core technology standards and articles I have read-- 

Ultimately, the club will incorporate art, music, drama, and core subjects. Essentially, the students will become the strongest leaders they can-- and they will also see how they can tap into their creative potential.

Linked this post at the Tech Talk linky party... http://greatmindsteachalike.com/tech-talk/ =)

4 comments:

  1. I love this!!!! So glad to hear about this happening in 5th grade. Usually kids don't get these opportunities until middle school. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Thanks, Tasia! I know I hooked up to something a bit older, but I thought technology-inspired teachers would be interested to see this. =) I appreciate your visit! - Victoria

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  2. My dad is a retired electrician. Contact your IBEW local. They usually will do some charity work and you may be able to get them to come in and even talk to your kids about how their job is integrated with tech.

    Stacie
    www.makingoverthirdgrade.blogspot.com

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    1. That would be fantastic, Stacie! Thank you so much for coming by! Wonderful suggestion. - Victoria

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