What project could help me integrate my content with making?
This week’s question was hard for me to wrap my head around. One reason I struggled with the question is I don’t know what I will be teaching for the 2015-16 school year, it may be elementary, middle school math, or technology coach. When I think of project based learning I think of science fair projects. I also think of how/when I incorporate projects into my classroom and it’s usually in science and includes using technology. After reading the online article Using Makerspace to Teach English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (Hall 2014), I have a better idea on how I can incorporate Language Arts into projects. According to Hall (2014), “By teaching skills like writing, expression, inquiry, and critical thinking in makerspaces, we can help support this ability to communicate in appropriate ways for each topic a student encounters (p.33).” The eight elements of a good project in chapter four of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Martinez & Stager 2013) are a good starting point for creating a classroom project:
- Purpose and Relevance
This week I attended a Math and Science Camp for teachers in Wrangell, AK. I was in a hydrology group and we learned how to use different technology probes to test water quality. We tested water temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and pH level. It was interesting to look at different bodies of water and compare the water properties. At the end of the camp teachers were tasked with creating a lesson/unit. I worked with four other teachers to create a hydrology unit with the essential question: what effects water quality? One of the lessons created looked at creating a filtration system. Two teachers from southeast AK have schools that have a holding tank for their school’s water. The lesson involved students testing the water properties in the holding tank, then filtering the water and testing the water to see if there are differences in the water properties. In the end the students would build a water filtration system. In chapter four of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom Martinez & Stager stated (2013), “The best prompts emerge from a learner’s curiosity, experience, discovery, wonder, challenge, or dilemma.” This made me think of a KWL chart and using the W, what students want to know as driving questions for students’ projects. During the Math and Science camp I heard a few secondary teachers bring up the idea of having the students create/decide on what the essential question would be for a given unit/lesson. By allowing students to drive the instruction would help ensure that students are engaged and learning is relevant. As stated by West-Puckett (2013), “Don’t let a prescribed curriculum stop you from integrating engaging maker experiences into your classroom. Find the intersections between young peoples’ interests and your curriculum.
Hall, M. (2014). Using makerspace to teach english language arts common core state standards. Retrieved June 13, 2015 from http://www.librarymediaconnection.com/pdf/lmc/reviews_and_articles/featured_articles/Hall_November_December2014.pdf
Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.
West-Puckett, S. (2013, September 13). Remaking education: Designing classroom makerspaces for transformative learning. Retrieved June 13, 2015 from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/classroom-makerspaces-transformative-learning-stephanie-west-puckett