Tag Archives: makerspace

After the Fall

I knew I wanted to do some makerspace type activity after reading After the Fall :How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat.  Obviously paper airplanes would be the activity, but that wasn’t enough.  Santat takes the familiar rhyme and let’s us know what happened to Humpty Dumpty after his great fall, although in this case, all the kings horses and men (the name of the hospital in the book) did put him back together again.  But he can’t bird watch from his favorite high perch because he is now afraid of heights. So will he conquer his fear and get back up there again? And the story involves him making paper airplanes.IMG_9414

After reading the book to the fourth grade class we discussed what they thought the themes of the book were.  They decided it was about having courage and not giving up even if you fail once.

Paper Airplanes and Reflection

I asked the students to think about a time they struggled and how they resolved that situation. They drew and wrote about a situation where they struggled but kept on trying.  They then made an airplane out of their paper and flew them.  We flew them in the library, which they thought was great.  Some made adjustments to their plane design for a better flight.

My Reflection on this Activity: YouTube Instructions

I was very surprised after doing this with the first fourth grade class how few students knew how to make a paper airplane!  So, for the next class I had a few YouTube videos and websites pulled up on the library computers if students wanted to watch those.  After trying this method, I would definitely include sites with only VERY simple airplanes.  Students still struggled while attempting to follow the directions and videos.

Lesson learned: these students need to have more activities to develop fine motor skills!

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Galimoto, Makerspace and Third Grade

I was searching for an idea for a makerspace activity when I thought of Karen Lynn Williams’ book, Galimoto.  I also have a galimoto I purchased years ago and figured the children could create one using pipe cleaners (I know, they’re called chenille stems…but I can’t break the habit of 50 years of saying “pipe cleaners”).

I decided that third grade would probably be able to think three dimensionally and have the motor skill development to do this. And, they did (although some really struggled).

Read the Book

After reading the book to the class, I showed them my galimoto.  They were amazed and intrigued by this simple toy.img_4904.jpg

Design the Galimoto

I had the teacher group the students into pairs and each pair was given a sheet of paper and a pencil and instructed to decide what wheeled creation they were going to create.  They drew their design and that is all we accomplished in the first session.  Some used non-fiction books if they were stumped as to what their vehicle really looked like. They had to work well as a team to decide on what they were going to do and then how to draw it out.

The Construction

At the beginning of our second session, I handed each student a copy of the IB Transdisciplinary Skills-Social Skills.  They took turns reading aloud so that everyone was familiar with what good team work looks like. Each group was given ten pipe cleaners and some scissors along with their drawing.  I did make a couple of suggestions, for instance, to create shapes with the pipe cleaner and then cut off excess.  I reminded them that they only had ten pipe cleaners so to plan wisely.

Motor Skills and Hands-on Experience

Some students do not have highly developed fine motor skills (their thumbs are probably very developed!) and had a difficult time figuring out how to twist the pipe cleaners together or around.  Lack of experience mostly.  They were getting the hang of it by the end.  Many of our students don’t seem to have a wide range of experience of making things with their hands and also seem awkward using scissors.  All the more reason to provide more opportunities for makerspace type activities.

Many students created an outline of their design, ie. a two dimensional obect, and thought they were done!  With further support they figured out it had to be three dimensional, just like the galimoto I had.

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The Final Product

Pretty much each group completed their galimoto after about thirty minutes.  Success.  They were very proud of their accomplishment.

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IB Approaches to Learning-Makerspace Activity

After a not very productive group activity with one of our fourth grade classes, I decided they needed to work on their social skills.  In the International Baccalaureate program we have something called Approaches to Learning and one component is Social Skills.  This class needed more practice and I decided to give them the opportunity!  I wanted to use a fun makerspace activity to engage the students, one that wouldn’t require any academic prep.

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Tower-Makerspace Activity

The library media specialists in our school system attended a makerspace workshop at the beginning of the school year conducted by Cari White from Texas.  We did an activity where we built a tower using index cards and round labels.  Easy-inexpensive, not much prep on my part, accessible to all skill levels!

The Hook-the Book-Rapunzel

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I chose a book with a tower in it, Rapunzel and decided to use Bethan Woollvin’s version as it short.  I needed to allow time for the students to read the IB Approaches to Learning: Social Skills before working in groups. After reading Rapunzel, the teacher divided the students into groups of three and each group did a carousel reading of the skills.

The Building of the Tower

The challenge is simple: work as a group to build the tallest tower using 20 index cards and 8 round labels.  In reflecting on this activity, I would spring for a better quality of index cards.  I used the ones that you can get at the beginning of the school year for 50 cents.  They didn’t have quite the stiffness that a higher quality of card would have.

The students, as I predicted, were a little slow in getting started.  Not much communication or collaboration, but eventually they got the hang of it!

And they were so proud of their towers!

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