Today, they were able to problem solve with the BrushBots. Talk about a whole new excitement for learning! I started the lesson by putting together a short article to get them excited about Makerspaces. We read the article and coded it as we looked for new information, things that were interesting or surprising, things that we had more questions about, we circled unfamiliar vocabulary words, and marked things that made us think "WOW!" I was able to clear up many vocabulary words that I assumed that they knew but did not. It was also interesting to hear what students viewed as new information, exciting 'wow' facts, what they viewed as interesting or surprising, and I was able to answer any questions.
+ New information
* I think this is interesting or surprising.
? I have a question about this.
Circle unfamiliar vocabulary words
|This is a BrushBot!|
After this close reading, I put up the BrushBot directions on the document camera and had them read through the directions. I posted the learning target and I had the students write down a few notes in their STEM Journals. I communicated to the students that they would be using their problem solving skills while they created BrushBots. What I failed to predict was just how much my students would actually use their problem skills!
I put out the materials on the table and students were called up to get their materials and supplies. When I was asked a question, I told them that they would have to use their problem solving skills. It was hard to bite my tongue and not give them more guidance, but I really wanted to see what they could do on their own. The only thing that I did for each student was strip the wires on their BrushBot as it would have been difficult for them to do that part on their own. I heard so many problem solving, collaborating, communication, and critical thinking skills in action. Students were able to get their BrushBots working, move it in the right direction(for the most part), help their friends troubleshoot, and learn about basic electronics.
After everyone had built their BrushBot, a few boys built a racetrack on the linoleum floor. They used Hot Wheels tracks to build racing lanes for four BrushBots at a time. We added a starting line and a finish line and held a BrushBot race. Not part of the original plan, but well worth the extra time!
|The BrushBot track|
The excitement and engagement was through the roof. All the while, learning was happening! The discussions, the problem solving, the advice to others, the new ideas, the design process in action...all of these were observed today.
|The finish line|
The top four winners raced in the final heat and we crowned our top two winners. After the racing was done, the students wrote a reflection in their digital portfolio on Seesaw. Here is a sample...
"Today, for Makerspace Monday, we made our own BrushBots. We learned how to use our problem-solving skills while doing this. The most challenging thing during this for me was connecting the wires correctly. The most fun thing was watching it in action. What went well for me was direction. I figured out how to make it go backwards and forwards. What went wrong for me was, well... technical difficulties. Something I would keep for this activity would be the racing. I really liked that part. Something I would modify on my BrushBot would be angling the bristles. All in all, I had a lot of fun."
"Brush-Bots- This was a really fun to thing for me I enjoyed experimenting to make it better. The whole designing process went well for me, except for that time where it non functioned and it went crazy. Then I had some troubles with tying the wires together. If I were to modify my brush-bot I would put more weight on one side so it would go straight. Another thing I might want to experiment with is modifying the bristles on the tooth brush. I loved maker bot Monday and I would definitely want to do it again!"-Shaun
The students loved Makerspace Monday and want to have it everyday. I told them that it will not just be limited to Mondays, but Mondays will be a given and a great way to start the week! That ought to help get them out of bed on Monday mornings!