Part 2 of my Maker Faire Reaction

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Yesterday I returned to work after a lovely week off for Spring Break. It was a day to finish report cards and prep for the final quarter of the school year and another day for kids to be on vacation. As I worked and worked in the quiet of a normally buzzing classroom, I took a break and clicked on Chrome on my computer. Then I typed in NAEYC, the letters that stand for the national Association for the Education of the Young Child and once on their homepage, I clicked on BLOG on the right hand side. And there it was – Part 2 of my Maker Faire story!!

As I strolled down, I couldn’t wait to have the kids back in our building, especially the now-4th graders. I want to show them the photos that got included of the objects THEY made last year during our first Maker Faire!

However, one “maker” was in the building today so I ran next door. “Sorry to interrupt but look – the next part of the blog got posted and it includes YOUR link to the video you made with your kids! Look, when I click the link, it opens and there is YOU, staring back at me! You got to share this link with your family!” I blurted out to her.

I was excited today to see my blog shared as a guest blogger for NAEYC and just as excited to share all that my colleagues and students created. I can’t thank NAEYC enough for this publishing opportunity! Click HERE to read the post or scroll down to read it.

AND I highly recommend taking 2 minutes and watching the video linked under #2. It is an inspiring video about being BRAVE – a video I plan to share with my students today as we begin the hard work of the 4th quarter of 3rd grade. It’s an inspiring video MADE by my colleague with her students last year to show ways they are brave. Be inspired and watch it!


By: Sally Donnelly

This blog post is the second of a 4-part blog series on the reactions and experiences of a 3rd-grade teacher’s first Maker Faire with her elementary school.


The five third-grade teachers at Discovery Elementary School are a diverse group with various passions. After being introduced to the maker faire concept at the April staff meeting, we met as a grade-level team. We decided collectively how we’d incorporate maker faire work time into our schedules. We each picked a project that matched our personal interests. We agreed that the 107 third grade students could choose which of the five projects to tackle. The art teacher assisted us, creating a list of materials we would need to gather. The materials would be donated, and we put out a call for family volunteers.

 

Our projects included:

1. A Wind-Powered Vehicle. Two of the third grade teachers liked the idea of an atmosphere-inspired project. They found their project on the PBS Design Squad website and selected the creation of air-powered vehicles as a problem.

 

A third grader made this vehicle using recycled materials.
Just fill the balloon with air, and it moves!
 

Watch the video of an air-powered vehicle to see such a machine in action!

 

2. An iMovie Music Video. Another third grade colleague is a talented photographer. That passion sparked her interest in supporting third graders making a music video. The project was based on a commercial music video—“Brave,” by Sara Bareilles—that the students often danced to during brain breaks . Click here to view the 4-minute video they made: Discovery Brave Video on Vimeo

 

3. A Computer-Aided Design. A colleague with a love of computers offered to challenge students to design houses using Google Sketchup, which they had no previous experience using.

 

A third grader learned how to use Google Sketchup
commands to render the beginning 3-D plan for this house.
 

 

Another third grader’s 3-D design! 

4. A Soft Sculpture Using LEDs for Light-Up Eyes. The art teacher added a sewing choice with a problem-solving layer. The students would use electric thread to sew a circuit with a battery, allowing their stuffed animals’ eyes to light up! For this to work, the students had to complete an electric circuit. One student made Arno, the orange pizza guy from our Zoombini game. Another student decided to make his white stuffed figure a pirate.

 

5. A Zoombini Pillow. I gathered fabric remnants and pillow stuffing. I made stencils for Zoombini hair, eyes, noses, and feet, and I lined up volunteers with sewing machines to help students make Zoombini pillows.

 

 

Stay tuned for Part 3!


Resources on Making

Making and Tinkering With STEM: Solving Design Challenges With Young Children

Activity page for Making and Tinkering With STEM: Solving Design Challenges With Young Children

Now Read This: Books That Encourage Making

Making With Young Learners: An Introduction

Learning Practices of Making

Message in a Backpack: Making at Home


Sally Donnelly is a third-grade teacher at Discovery Elementary School, in Arlington, Virginia.

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