Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blog Hoppin' - Where Tuesday

More on this fun Blog Hoppin' Week! Join in and read more!

Where are we at? We're in a kindergarten through eighth grade school in Southeastern Wisconsin. More specifically, I'll be in a middle school science lab and our Maker Space.

What is a Maker Space you ask? It's an incredible place for your students to invent and design using STEM/STEAM and engineering design principles. Last year our school received a grant to open a Maker Space for K-8. I eagerly took on the challenge of setting up the Maker Space, facilitating the students and managing the grant money. This year I will be working partially in the Maker Space and also as the middle school science teacher.

I shared a few days ago about what we'll be beginning the school year with in middle school science.

Our Maker Space is also getting up and running. Last year our eighth graders built an aquaponics lab from the ground up. They built the tanks from donated materials, built the plant stand from lumber and one student even created a robotic fish feeder to automatically feed the tilapia!

We grew lettuce, fish, and red worms in this particular set up. My role was to facilitate the project, but I encourage the students to problem solve, to research, to investigate and to invent on their own. I believe in the student-led education in the Maker Space. The students are more excited to learn and often dig in deeper than if they were teacher guided.
Aquaponics lab in our Maker Space
Our students also made a pneumatic tube system to sent items from our Maker Space to another classroom!
Pneumatic Tube from our Maker Space to another classroom!
I'm really looking forward to developing our Maker Space even more than our first year. This is in addition to my already packed middle school science curriculum! I head back to school next week, and the kids follow right after Labor Day. I'm anxious and excited to get back and see what my students come up with this year!

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