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Gearing Up For Our First Big Maker Events

Quite by accident, I started last school year with the Cardboard Challenge.  As part of our introduction to Genius Hour, we watched Caine's Arcade. After viewing it, one of my fourth grade students mentioned that she thought that we should build our own cardboard arcade games.  After a bit of panic and doubt about such a big (wild and crazy) event, my parapro and I decided we could do it. So we started gathering boxes, sending notes home about what was happening, and asking for donations.  We got started, failed along the way, and ultimately succeeded in our efforts to plan, design, and create our games.

This year, with our new MakerSpace in place, I knew that I wanted to start off the year again with a big event!  Plus, each grade level would need an introduction to the space and would need to learn what possibilities it held.  I decided that each grade level would begin the year with a maker project that would require them to use supplies from our space, work together to solve problems, adapt when needed, learn from others, and persevere when faced with failure.  So I worked this summer to find some maker projects that would work at each grade level...

                    First Grade:  Marble Mazes
                    Second Grade:  Marble Runs
                    Third Grade:  Global Cardboard Challenge
                    Fourth Grade:  Catapults
                    Fifth Grade:  Rube Goldberg Machines

I have loved seeing the excitement and buzz among the kids when I shared what each group would be working on to start the year.  To help us prepare for what we are sure to experience, we have spent the last few days learning about failure and why it is not a negative thing.  Failure, whether small or large, is essential to learning.  We have shared and discussed books like Rosie Revere, Engineer and The Most Magnificent Thing to highlight this concept.  I really want the kids to begin to realize when something doesn't work, they just need to find a better way to do it!

In the coming days, we will really begin making our plans on how to successfully complete each maker project.  I won't be making the decisions...the individual classes will be deciding how to best complete their challenge.

Following these group projects, students will begin following their own passions and will design their own Genius Hour time.  We now have so many possibilities available to us thanks to our MakerSpace.


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