Makey Makey! If you haven’t had the privilege of trying out a Makey Makey, watch this video to give you an idea of all the wonderful things you can do with it:
Week 2 of the Makerspace launch was aided and abetted by Mr. Scruton, who helped us make pianos out of cafeteria fruits and vegetables, take selfies by pressing down a sensor (sort of like the cat in the video) as well as playing Pacman using celery as a joystick and fist-bump pausing videos.
Here are some photos of the fun we had:
This was by far one of the most popular activity. The students were fascinated by how they could conduct energy through an orange or a pickle. Heck, I’m fascinated by this. The students were the ones to ask how the cat could take a selfie and wanted to figure it out.
I found that at first, you have to let the students play with something that is already set up. Once they get over the fear of “breaking it”, they are then in a better place to try new things out. This starts slow- at first they simply change the type of vegetable. Or, in the case of the Pacman video game, start to move the wires when they find that they can’t move left for some reason.
But then, all of a sudden, the what-ifs start to externalize: What if we used this instead of this? What happens when…?
Although we don’t have a whole lot of time at lunch and the process could be taken much further, it was gratifying to see how students quickly get over their internal barriers to play and begin to lean in to their curiosity.
In order to promote the Library Makerspace materials, the Makerspace team have been setting up shop in the cafeteria at lunch for the last few weeks. Our first week was March 21st.
Christianne Loupelle took charge of the binary bracelets activity where students could bead their names in binary code. Ms. Loupelle used the following Binary Guide:
This was by far one of the more popular activities. It was a great, subversive introduction to computational thinking disguised as an easy craft. Although most of the students stuck to the challenge of writing their names in binary, a few opted to simply make a bracelet or a necklace, which was okay too. The whole idea is to introduce some hands-on exploration in their day that has no external pressure attached to it (grades, competition, etc.) Also, the kind of repetitive, detailed task of beading is almost like meditation, so there is a nice mindfulness component to this activity as well!
I took charge of our resident robot Ollie. I had a hard time finding people who wanted to drive it at first, but after driving it around the cafeteria for a few minutes and bumping into people, I finally got some takers. I was hoping they would try to program his movements in Tickle, but I found that I had to prod the students to even take the controls. They were so afraid of “breaking it” or of “making a mistake” they wouldn’t even try at first. It was a real lesson for me in terms of the internal barriers to discovery and exploration that have already begun to take root in our young girls. yet, with a little bit of prodding and basically shoving my iPad into their hands, by the end of lunchtime I couldn’t take it away from them.
Here are a couple of shots of both activities:
Aside: I decided to explore Google photos and Google slides for this activity. But more on that later…