Sunday, March 11, 2018

Social Studies Maker Project (part 1)

Recently, I was approached by Brooks Lee, one of our 8th grade Social Studies teachers, about helping him use Makerspace tools in his curriculum. He had attended a session at a professional development meeting, and his eyes had been opened to the possibilities for his students. During his preparation period, we started meeting regularly and discussing how this might look. He shared the idea with his co-worker, April Lawson, and she was also on board to team up with her 8th grade Social Studies classes.

A box of K'nex

April and Brooks began working out the details with a rubric and timeline. It was decided that they would have the students pick any topic from the 1800s and create an informative presentation using innovation tools of their choice. They requested that the students have a day in the library to show them the possibilities with our various Makerspace tools. We decided to show them the items that would work well with the assignment. These included Legos, K'nex, our Makerbot 3D printer, Unity, Makey-Makey, Green Screen, Oculus Rift devices, and Minecraft.

The YouTube clip above shows how we presented Maker tools to students

To introduce the items, we demonstrated how they could be used by showing the tools. We also presented videos that displayed finished products. These videos were found on YouTube and included Minecraft, Makey-Makey, K'nex, and Unity.
Mrs. Price demonstrates Makerspace tools

We were impressed by how engaged and interested the students were during all the introduction sessions. It was exciting to hear how they began to brainstorm ways they would use the maker tools for their presentations.

Future Ready Librarian Connection

As I look at the Future Ready Librarian Framework, activities like this strongly connect to these components: Builds Instructional Partnerships, Empowers Students as Creators, and Curates Digital Resources and Tools. It also connects to the component, Designs Collaborative Spaces. When we have collaborations that employ making concepts, it is important to share these connections with administrators and other library stakeholders. Many teachers may not feel comfortable taking on an innovative project with students. By supporting them in the library, we can give them confidence that they don't have to take it all on alone. The school library is the perfect environment to allow students to create and innovate!

We showed the Green Screen App video by Do Ink to give the students ideas!


We learned that we didn't have to be the experts with every type of Makerspace tool. We only had to show the students the tool and the possibilities of what it could do. After that, it was up to the students to become knowledgeable about their Makerspace item(s) of choice. The teachers and library staff merely served as a source of support when problems arose. In the next installment of this blog, I'll share the process and the products that the students created. I'll also share some teacher and student reflections.

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