Monday, October 6, 2014

We Make It Wednesdays-- Maker Clubs Begin!

One of the goals for the library this year is to have maker clubs with specific projects. Last year, our only maker club was a digital maker club. This club met throughout the year and used digital tools to promote reading. This year, with our makerspace stocked with all kinds of awesome things, we needed to provide opportunities for our students to use the space. Thanks to a Donors Choose project that was funded, we received the Hokki stools shown below. 

We also added MakeyMakeys and a Sphero robotics ball thanks to many donors, but the items we are using for the first maker club session were received through our Weatherford ISD Education Foundation. The littleBits, K'Nex, and Legos would all be put to use, as well as many craft items that we have stocked the makerspace with. littleBits are one of our students favorite things to use in the makerspace. If you aren't familiar with LittleBits, they are electronic modules that snap together with magnets. They are very easy to use and the students LOVE them!

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A couple of parents had mentioned volunteering their time to help in the makerspace, so I visited with one at the beginning of the school year. Fortunately, he has knowledge and experience that lends itself to making. After talking, it was decided that we would have two clubs-- one a maker club (for creating with different objects) and one a media maker club (to use our new green screen) and then we would combine the two to create a haunted movie.

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Students had to complete an application, sharing why they wanted in the club, and get a teacher recommendation. We were able to get all of the students in that turned in an application, which made me very happy. This was possible due to having an extra person, so I was very appreciative of Dr. Keith's help with our maker clubs!

The first meeting was this past Wednesday and the students were very excited! We met together as one big group and talked about what our goals were for the first session of maker clubs. We then separated into the two clubs. 

Maker club students gathered around Dr. Keith as he talked about circuits with them. He had built a ferris wheel and connected some of the littleBits to it. 

There were lots of "ooohs" and "aahhhs" as the students watched Dr. Keith connect the circuits to create buzzers, lights, and more. Then the students were given the opportunity to explore all of the pieces of the makerspace.

Also during this time, the media maker club was discovering how the green screen worked. Previously, I had contacted the creators of a green screen app called DoInk. They had shared some great tutorials for using the green screen, one of which we watched together during our meeting. It was created by dc2Norfolk and is shown below.

The students then worked to find images to use to create spooky scenes that would go into their haunted movie. Our hope is that the maker club will create the buildings and objects that will be in the movie, and the media maker club will take pictures and add those to their green screen creation. 

It seems that our first meeting was a success! We are excited to see what this week brings!