Day 78 – Mon., Jan. 5, 2014 – MakerSpace (designing, problem solving, creativity, teamwork)

Happy New Year!!!! ūüôā

*** Be sure to check out the Photo Gallery at the end of this post! ***



Creativity, Problem Solving, Team work (plus unconscious work in science/physics and math!)

We tried something new today ~~ we transformed our classroom into a bit of a MAKER SPACE (apart from our Nutrition Breaks, PhysEd with Miss Rankin & French with Mme Reid). Our permanent classroom “Maker Space” may become just a bin of materials for tinkering with (because there is not enough room in our classroom for a dedicated workbench). Check out these “Maker Education” links at @Edutopia to get an idea of what it’s all about.¬†Having students become fluid in building, creativity, problem solving and teamwork will be beneficial in many Curriculum Strands and Learning Skills. It does relate to our eventual Grade 5 “structures” science unit but¬†that is not specifically our purpose —- classrooms in various¬†grades around the world¬†are trying “Maker Education”.)

This was so much fun!! Building together in groups had every student engaged. The class was divided into groups of about 4 students and given up to four cardboard boxes, a roll of masking tape and access to writing tools and measuring and cutting tools. We began by brainstorming what could be made — and the guidelines were: Anything goes!!!¬†Each group sketched out a plan and as a whole group, we went about the task of democratically distributing the boxes that we have been collecting since September! Not every group necessarily got the boxes that they wanted ūüėČ

Here are our reflections — keep in mind that we are practising design, problem solving, creativity, teamwork/communication. What other skills do you think are involved here? Are designing & creativity the same? Would you include imagination with creativity/design?

Team 1

  • We couldn’t come up with an idea — We received feedback that we can’t use things that aren’t cardboard or tape. We assumed we would be able to use other materials.
  • [later…………………………………..success!]
  • Our success:
    • We have success now because we have more cooperation.
    • No, we don’t
    • ¬†(lol — Somebody make up their mind! This team eventually moved passed their rough start)
    • Someone started building one part of our idea. Another person watched and decided to jump in and build a different part that hadn’t been started.
  • Challenges:
    • We made two rectangular prisms. We had to hold them up to each other, compare the size with our eyes and cut one down. Having them even means it won’t be sloppy.
    • (Feedback: What could you use to make sure they are completely even?¬†A ruler”).
    • (Feedback: Why should both supports be exactly the same size? ¬†*Unanswered*)


Team 2

  • Challenges:
    • Making a three dimensional part to fit exactly to the space available. We solved it by¬†¬†trying different ways to put the piece in once we made the piece. We adjusted the size of it and turn it in different directions. We measured how long the available space was as we did a “guess and test” to make the piece fit.
    • One large platform piece was bending, so we flipped it over and noticed that it wasn’t bending now. It was probably already bent a certain direction, so we inferred that the opposite side would be stronger and not bend.
  • Our Success:
    • We are making a structure that has to be strong enough to hold a lot of sections. We¬†thought double or triple tape would be stronger and it seems to be holding.


Team 3

  • Our Plan:
    • We imagined what our object would look like.
    • We looked at the boxes and decided what parts of the box could be cut up to make the different features of the object.
    • The box also had a¬†certain amount of cut-out shapes in its own design and we matched those to what our imaginations told us we needed.
  • Challenges:
    • Our biggest challenge was coming up with an idea. First we wanted to create the something from a book¬†but we discovered that we needed an original idea. We came up with a second idea and someone in our group said it looked like a third object. We decided together that it was a good idea and the materials seemed to match it as a possible idea
    • We saw another group with a piece we needed. We decided to take the scrap cardboard that we had left and asked them if we could trade it for the piece they had sitting there. It worked!


Team 4

  • Challenge:
    • We lost one of our boxes. We have a challenge to find other materials
    • Getting the [corrugated] cardboard to make a smooth curve ¬†is very difficult
    • Cutting a curved edge is also hard. If we used tiny cuts and go bit by bit, we could create a better curve.
    • We had one complete box and needed a second complete box….but we¬†didn’t have a second one, so we¬†created a second box with multiple pieces of cardboard and tape
    • We visualized something that exists already, and we had challenges to make it happen exactly the way we visualized. It is harder to base a design something that already exists in real life, because once you have one idea in your mind, you can never really match it 100%. It always ends up not looking exactly like what is in your mind. You always come across obstacles. On the other hand, with a blank canvas, you can always tweak details and it always looks fine because there is nothing to compare it to.
    • Our biggest challenge was finding differences in our individual designs so that the similar parts we made by individually¬†were not identical. We want each person’s creation to be¬†special in its own way

(Feedback: Wait a second……So you stopped working as a whole team on one building project. How did that happen? How did your maker project turn into each group member doing their own thing?)

  • We realized that original plan turned out to be a really easy maker-project (one piece). ¬†All four of us working on one easy piece wouldn’t be good because we would be done too fast! So we decided that we would each make our own version of the one easy piece….and then we would present our products together in an interesting way

(Feedback: Then where would we see evidence of the required teamwork?)

  • We helped¬†each other when needed, and then we¬†came up with two more complex pieces and worked on those.


Team 5

  • Challenges:
    • Support for our structure. Solution: Adding more supports helped — we cut out support pieces from scraps. We learned in Grade 5 that a bigger base would help — so we increased the size of our base.
    • Trying to get the materials to work to make the structure work. Our structure is a way to deliver water¬†— our structure has a real-life application and is trying to move an object (water) from one place to another. Our structure is actually¬†supposed to be a functioning machine that would help people in need. One of the parts was not pushing another part the way it needed to. We realized that we needed to increase the mass of the carrier piece so that gravity could help move it
    • Someone from a different team picked up our tape and used it for 10 minutes without realizing it!


Team 6

  • Challenges:
    • The tape isn’t working good enough
  • (Feedback: Is there something you can do to use the tape differently?) —
    • We could use more tape in layers, and use longer pieces.
    • It is hard to make our structure stand up — it isn’t very stable.
  • (Feedback: Ideas to make it more stable? Compare the legs to YOUR legs on your body. What is missing?) ¬†
    • We need FEET!!!!!!!! Solution: We used two more boxes (larger) to make “feet” on the bottom