In mid-September the lower school library announced the exciting formation of a new “maker space” after-school drop-in program for students in grades 4 and 5. The program, inspired by the educational maker movement, is now up and running.
Throughout the country, parents, students and educators have eagerly embraced the growing maker movement, with its do-it-yourself (DIY) mantra evident at schools, clubs, museums and libraries Now, the lower school will have a maker space – a physical location where people come together to create – of its very own.
On Sept. 26, the Bucknall library welcomed 23 students to its inaugural maker space activity, where participants had a blast creating “Brush Bots.” The mechanical toys are powered by a simple circuit with a pager motor that vibrates and moves the bot across surfaces, such as tables and floors.
The students built and designed the tiny robots from toothbrush heads, batteries, wire and adhesive. They were provided the basic components and a pile of miscellaneous materials to enhance and modify their bot. Students also could design habitats; small boxes that contained their motorized brush bot. The result, recalled the lower school librarians, was a dynamic and open-ended exploration of the principles of motion and energy.
Fourth graders Matthew Chen and Brandon Wang took their brush bots to the next level by designing them to do battle in an arena. In the course of their experiment, the pair discovered they needed to expand their bots’ habitat and were overheard making plans to incorporate paper towel tubes and use a table rather than a box.
Fifth grade English teacher Ann Smitherman observed that the “flexibility that these kids are showing when they’re trying to decide what to do and why things work like this is really important.”
Look for expanded coverage of the lower school’s new maker space program in the upcoming winter issue of Harker Quarterly magazine!