Monday, February 27, 2017

Makerspace in First Grade

After exploring landforms with Google Streetview, the next step of our exploration was to create a project using Makerspace to show the connection between how a person lives and their environment.

Makerspace is an opportunity for students to create something to display their understanding of a topic.  Students work together in partners or groups to create a Make, and after listening to the feedback of their peers, the students are given a chance to revise their creation.  The purpose of Maskerspace is to foster collaboration among students and promote higher level thinking.

Students were allowed to pick their own partners (with my approval of course) for this project.  Then they drew a card that displayed a landform and a component of human life (shelter, food, clothing, and activities).  Below is an example of one of the cards for the project.  Click here for the complete set.

Students were allowed to use anything and everything to create their project.  For the past few weeks, we asked our parents to collect recyclable items such as small boxes, toilet paper rolls, tin cans, etc. as well as craft items such as yarn, ribbon, pieces of fabric, craft sticks, and the list goes on.  This gave parents the perfect opportunity to clean out their closets.  Click here to see a more comprehensive list of suggested items for Makerspace.

The materials needed for Makerspace are stored on a cart in the hallway.  Students are allowed to go to the cart during the Make to get the items that they need for their project.  Craft items are spread out on my teacher table for student use.  Students are encouraged to use only what they need and return the rest for someone else to use for their project.

The outcome of Makerspace is not the project that the students create; it is the conversations that students have during the making of their creation.  For this project, students not only have to be able to know what landform they are creating, but they have to connect the landform to a certain aspect of human life.  They have to work together to display their thinking about this topic.  See below the project about a person fishing in the ocean.  Would someone be able to do the same activity in the desert?

I am still discovering how Makerspace and technology fit together.  Makerspace works best when students work together to create a project.  When students work together, more ideas are shared and the product of their collaboration is improved.  We know that we want our students to learn to work collaboratively together in order to prepare them for the workplace, especially STEM jobs.  Makerspace offers a place for students to use their creativity to solve problems.  Perhaps Makerspace is a beginning playground to prepare our students for the real world.

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