High School Explorers
Hot Wheel Ramps
Last year we started to blend our science fair with more making activities. It was a great success with families learning about different science projects as well as making different things with their children. This year we continued the combination. What a wonderful night!
Instructables donated 5 Makey Makeys for our students and parents to play and create. The banana piano, carrot piano, playdoh controller, dance mat, and interactive Minecraft EDU mat were big hits. Thanks to Max and Kyllan for finding a way to create an interactive mat so students could play Minecraft too.
Step 1 - Materials
You will need a 10mm LED, coin cell battery, foam bookmark, tape, and foam decorations.
Step 2 - Decorate Your Bookmark
Step 3 - Add Your LED
Push the LED leads through the design to the back of your bookmark.
Bend the LED leads on the back of your bookmark to create a place for your coin cell battery.
Step 4 - Add the Battery
The battery will fit between the two leads. One lead will touch one side of the battery and the other lead will touch the other side of the battery. You know that you have the battery in right when your LED lights up.
Tape your battery into place.
Okay so let me start by admitting that every year about this time when the Science Fair rolls around, I would inwardly cringe. As a former bilingual teacher, it wasn't because I didn't think that students should pursue different learning experiences but the reality was that for my families the resources were just not there. I did not have the time to individually work with each child to do a science experiment and then transfer it on to the cardboard foldout. Okay... I've gotta admit that I am not a fan of the cardboard foldout either. With all of the technology that we have access to, the best we can do now is a cardboard foldout.... really?
My issue with the Science Fair was not the content or the process that it encourages but rather the delivery and the heavy reliance on factors that my students couldn't control like family involvement and monetary resources to pursue different investigations. I also believe that science needs to be a hands-on investigative process for all students irregardless of the factors beyond the child's control.
So this year I approached our Science Fair committee with an idea. Could we possibly add a Build Night or Maker portion to our Science Fair? Instructables had just selected our school to receive 5 Makey Makeys as well as Circuit Scribes. What if we created along side the traditional Science Fair so that all students could participate? The Science Fair committee was extremely supportive of the idea.
So here is what we have planned:
1. A Sphero Maze - Students in our After-School program will be designing challenge mazes out of cardboard to be used with our Spheros in a Sphero Challenge. The maze will be designed after the Dr. Seuss book - Oh, The Places You Will Go.
2. LED bookmarks - Thanks to Instructables we have remaining LEDs and using the following modification of the LED bracelet, we are going to make LED bookmarks. Our Science Fair coincides with Read Across America week so all of our Build Night activities will connect to a book.
3. Makey Makey and Circuit Scribe exploration - Students will explore different materials to create with the Makey Makeys. The After-School group will test some different activities that will be highlighted but this area will be available with different materials and ways to use both the Makey Makeys and the Circuit Scribe.
Here is a Symbaloo that has been started to inspire our students in our first ever Science Fair / Build Night / Read Across America Night.
Making is a passion that comes naturally to me. But LEDs and circuitry are very new to me. This June Instructables had a LED Build Night opportunity where makerspaces could apply for free materials. I applied for our SP Design Lab as the hope this year is to expand beyond lunch hour and after-school to family and community nights. SP Design Lab was selected and within a week I had more LEDs then I imagined.
My mission was to create two projects that K-5 students could do so that our first build night would happen at our back to school night. I spent a good amount of time researching on the internet and this is the first of two projects. The Glow in the Dark Ping Pong Ball is not an original idea but it is an excellent introduction to LEDs and simple circuits. This project was debuted at the first annual DENovator Faire at the Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute in Nashville, TN and will also be one of several LED projects that our students will have to choose from at our first build night in September.
Thank you to Instructables for giving me the opportunity to share this LED project with educators around the U.S.A., Canada, and the U.K. as well as our students. I hope to have published the second project in the upcoming days. After submitting my first Instructable, it became a featured project. I am very excited about the opportunities that organizations are providing for our students.