It is incredible what kids can do when we believe in them, coach them, and get out of their way! Our students recently participated in a robotics competition that was invented from the ground up by staff and students. We designed and printed 3D “exoskeletons” that fit over our Sphero robotic droids…and SpheroExo was born. The rest is history.
Check out the 5 minute video below and prepare to be amazed at what kids can do.
We are so proud of our students and all they are creating, engineering, and achieving. Watch for our students next week as they present SpheroExo to teachers at EdCamp Eau Claire! Students will be sharing their design process and how they’re inventing the future at #EdCampEC.
I’m not sure that MakerSpaces can actually invent the future, but I’m very confident that cutting-edge tools and a culture conducive to innovation helps. A relevant and connected pedagogy empowers all kids to create, connect, and dream bigger.
Recently, one of our kindergarten classes worked on a standards-based engineering challenge, and the results were incredible. The truth of the matter is this type of “incredible” is something I see on a daily basis in classrooms across our school. Sometimes I’m able to take a few pictures (or video) and other times I simply stand in awe of the passion and skill our teachers possess. I am amazed at how our team cultivates skills that help students thrive today and excel tomorrow.
When all is said and done, the transmission of graphite to paper provides important practice and achievement data. However, it’s the transmission of curiosity that transcends time. Learning how to learn, overcoming failure, and working together to create something more beautiful than any of us could create alone is where the magic is. When digital age skills and a relevant pedagogy are part of the achievement process kids win.
This three minute VIDEO highlights the process we used for a lesson with Edison robots. Getting a glimpse of the conversation and steps our kindergarten students followed is pretty special. I also think that sharing some of the activities that our teachers are facilitating is good for all kids. When educators share their insights a global ecosystem of learners benefits from the ensuing conversations. Shining the light on best practices, innovation, and the work our dedicated teachers are doing helps us all understand how we might serve students in a more relevant and relational manner. It’s not about the robots!
Edison robots are the tool featured in this video, but they are not the reason this learning experience was incredible. The mindset and approach that Mrs. Amy Westman used made this learning transformational for kids. (A connected teacher with a growth-mindset is more important than any robotic device.) Amy and her colleagues demonstrate this on a daily basis. I’d suggest following @MrsAmyWestman on Twitter. She’s one of seven phenomenal kindergarten teachers in our school, and she shares some great learning highlights throughout the week.
Standards and Mobile MakerSpaces:
Lastly, one of the kindergarten standards that guided the lesson was 0.8.1.1 1. “Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.” We used one of our Mobile MakerSpace carts to bring this challenge to students, and to breathe relevance into the standards.