Sometimes the simplest things are the most entertaining. I couldn't possibly describe the joy that our kindergartners experienced in Sphero City this week.
To a lot of people our cardboard city looks like a pile of random cardboard, but to our students it was a masterpiece. Students knew where their creations were and were very excited to use the Spheros in the city that they had created.
Imagination and play are so essential. Play on!
Sphero City is really growing. One more week and then it will be time for the Spheros to occupy the city.
The Sphero City has started....
The Minecraft Community has started....
What will our students create?
October - Cardboard Challenge
October in the SP Design Lab has been creation with cardboard. We have had some amazing creations and great collaborations. One of our fourth grade teams worked together to create a cool game while others have created robots, time machines, a pet dog, houses, and more. This creation activity has helped our learners to look at recyclable materials as opportunities for creating and repurposing.
November - Games
The month of November will be a focus on games in the SP Design Lab. Minecraft EDU, board games, and iPad game creation will all be a focus.
Minecraft EDU will start with a tutorial world this month so that all learners have access to learning this virtual game. We will be using the tutorial world that Max created that allows expert users to challenge themselves in another tutorial world while offering the introductory tutorial world for the new player.
Board games will also be an important part of the choices as well as iPad game creation apps like Pixel Press Floor where creators can design Mario like games using the iPad and paper planning design.
December - Coding
December is the month of The Hour of Code which last year was a wonderful opportunity for our students. Besides using Code.org, students will have the opportunity to use Spheros and an Ollie to understand how to program robotic objects. Scratch will be introduced with Makey Makeys for students to explore the possibilities of creation and coding.
Funding - Our Generous Sponsors
The SP Design Lab has been very fortunate to receive two generous donations from Madison4Kids and Walmart to help fund new technologies and opportunities for our students. Thank you to both of these organizations for believing in what we are doing to provide all of our students with opportunities to create and learn.
What you want for me to play with cardboard? What about Minecraft? These are just a few of the responses that I heard this week. Several students looked at me like I was talking crazy while others couldn't wait to get started. Others sat and watched and after 10 minutes were completely engaged in making something that only they could see.
Here are some things that we have learned in only two days.
Having limited materials causes wonderful challenges. We didn't have enough cutting tools, scissors, or tape. Of course we can buy more but is that really the solution? Several students resorted to crying when the teacher wouldn't get them the materials that they wanted... but soon realized that part of a collaborative environment is that the teacher is no longer who you need to talk with but rather other groups who are using the materials. Learning how to share is an essential collaborative skill that we all need to develop.
Working with Partners
Some students immediately found others and started to brainstorm and create. Today many of them returned to finish what they were creating. It was beautiful to watch the collaboration and engagement of the groups.
The sound of cardboard cutting and imagination has just begun. Some students spent 10-15 minutes just sitting in their cardboard box. I'm not sure where they traveled while in their box but it looked like fun. I can't wait to see what the next teams will do!
Today was the beginning of cardboard creation. One of our fabulous custodians accidentally recycled all of our cardboard so Mike Brown, our lead custodian, and I had to fish it out of the dumpster.
Some students jumped right in and started creating. We quickly realized that we didn't have enough of the awesome Makedo cutter tools but many of the teams found a way to overcome limited tools. Our Makedo tools really make creating with cardboard and recycled materials easily.
SLATE 2014 - Meet Your Maker Presentation
The success of our SP Design Lab comes from the connections that we have made with our community. Last spring the SP Design Lab was created and integrated into lunch recess and after-school. Through collaboration with FACTv and Radiant Fabrication, our Design Lab was able to benefit from experts within our community about movie making and 3D printing.
Sharing what we are doing and connecting with families is an essential goal of our SP Design Lab. Even though the Design Lab is open during school hours and after-school, it has always been a goal to connect with families during Build Nights. Our first Build Night was facilitated by Instructables.com who donated $800 worth of LEDs. In order to integrate the LED Build Night, it was integrated into our school Back to School night to ensure that more students and families could participate.
Global Cardboard Challenge
The new school year has begun and the SP Design Lab will open at the end of September. Last year ended with many options but with the beginning of the Design Lab this year, a focus on simple materials will be the primary focus.
The SP Design Lab will be starting with a focus on cardboard creation for the month of October. The Global Cardboard Challenge is based on Caine's Arcade. Cardboard and imagination are powerful tools that our students have access to as well as other art materials that were donated through Donor's Choose and a generous donation from the Lily Sarah Grace Fund.
The goal is to document our creations through capturing images and video that will be shared using tools like Discovery Education's Board Builder, Animoto, iMovie, blogging and more. Please return soon to find out where our adventure is taking us using cardboard and the most powerful creation tool available - the imagination.