Monday, June 29, 2015

Meaningful Making at Do, Design, Discover!

At Do, Design, Discover (D3) makers from all over the world got together at Marymount School in New York City and not only learned about making, but challenged themselves and others about what making is and how it is used in education.  After brainstorming topics and self selecting groups we got to work.  I would like to tell about my groups project.  While our project (in my humble opinion) was AWESOME!, the real product was a blank planning template that could be used to design projects that are both interdisciplinary and sustainable.  We believe that making is a bridge between all content areas, a skill set that can enhance "real-life" learning and growing and something that should be able to be replicated and scaled for whatever the students'/teachers'/schools' needs are.

Our group's premise was to devise a project template that would incorporate multiple disciplines and focus on using sustainable materials with as few "consumables" as possible.  With this in mind, we started by creating a blank template that could be used for any lesson/unit design.  This link can be shared with anyone who wishes to use it.  .

The project we built out, was a unit around water conservation.  In each content area (we chose Math, Social Studies, Science and English) lessons were taught with the subject of water being a theme.  Math looked at volume, English looked at poetry, Social Studies at the economics of water control, and Science at actual conservation.  As each subject did their lessons and students showed mastery, the students were asked to build "a button" using a metal bottle cap (water bottle) and other sustainable or recyclable materials.  The button had to show the subject area they learned about (ie. Math has a 3D printed "V" for volume).

As we worked on the buttons, we realized a challenge was to make sure that conductivity would not be obstructed by materials and we had to problem solve as a group to make sure that the connection for the Makey-Makey would be strong.

Once the group had made 4 buttons, their task in the maker space would be to create a video game around the theme of water conservation in scratch and use a makey-makey to create a controller for that video game using the bottle caps.  We chose additional maker stuff by using lego's as the control holder, and to laser etch the directions into a piece of acrylic.  The video game and controller can be created in small groups and could groups could choose to create the game around any topic they learned about in any of the core curricular areas.

At the end, our pieces and controller used little to no materials that could not be re-purposed, reused or recycled at the end of the activity.  Our goal was to create something that could continue to add meaning to making and help teachers to create lessons that would incorporate responsible making in their classrooms, teams and schools.