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?
Here is a video that Janet Farnan our Learning Resource Coordinator took of what our SP Design Lab looks like when all of our first graders are together. Normally we don't have one grade level at a time in the Design Lab but for these special circumstances it happened and it helped me to see what our SP Design Lab could look and sound like in the future. Sometimes you have to try something different to have "aha" moments. It was an "AHA" moment for several of us.
The sounds of learning and engagement can be heard and seen. But don't take it from me... check it out for yourself through these videos or stop by and learn with us.
Testing has started again but lucky for us, the SP Design Lab was able to open today during lunch. The excitement of the Lego Table... which quickly was modified by many hands along with the Dashes, Spheros, Osmo Masterpiece drawings, Ollies, Minecraft, and rainbow looms provided so many different choices for our students.
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.
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.