EDET 677: Week 7

Essential Question: What are the rules for your makerspace?

While the focus and structure of my classroom makerspace is bound to change over time, I want to create rules which are applicable to the current vision. I feel this is important in keeping students focused on task-specific safety and as things change, we, as a group, can adapt the rules of the makerspace to accommodate positive and safe learning. Martinez and Stager (pg 161) discuss the importance of having a gender friendly space and style. Rules written by boys and girls often differ in their verbiage, so creating rules with the class as a whole can help make everyone feel welcome within the makerspace.

The way the rules are worded is also an important consideration for me. I want my rules to be conveyed in a positive and specific manner. David Bicard (2000) explains how a simple difference in wording can change interpretation and outcome of rules:

Positive rules focus on what a student should do and help teachers concentrate on helping students acquire appropriate and useful behaviors. Negative rules state what students should not do and focus teacher attention on student misbehavior. Positive rules encourage use of positive interactions, while negative rules promote using aversives and punishment. Because a teacher’s primary responsibility involves creation not elimination of students’ behavior, many educators have promoted using positively stated rules. 

Specificity in rules helps students and teachers maintain the same expectations. Vague rules lead to misinterpretations, especially if any students in the classroom have language disorders or emotional or behavioral disorders. Kostewicz, Ruhl, and Kubina Jr. (2008) provide a helpful table which demonstrates the difference in wording between positive and negative rules as well as specific and nonspecific rules. As an example, a specific positive rule would be, “Raise your hand to gain the teacher’s attention.” The same rule, phrased in a nonspecific positive manner would be, “Be courteous.” In a negative specific form, the rule would be written, “No talk outs in class,” and a nonspecific negative form would be, “Don’t bother others.”

I will create general usage and safety rules for the makerspace with the help of my students. I love the idea of a makerspace “membership” with a document stating the rules and having students sign indicating their understanding and agreement. The SLO MakerSpace does a nice job of outlining the basic expectations of the makerspace user, so I would start with their rights and responsibilities and have students add any other specific things they feel would be needed for our particular classroom environment.

Member Rights and Responsibilities (SLO MakerSpace, 2013)
● Right to a safe work environment
● Safety is everyone’s responsibility
● Right to a clean shop
● Cleaning up is everyone’s responsibility
● Responsibility to report misconduct

Safety is a key concern, especially with younger students. All students using the makerspace area would be required to wear safety glasses. Because the classroom makerspace working space is limited, I would like to adapt a version of  Michelle Hlubinka’s safety plan for all student projects which use materials which might be of risk to others. Hlubinka describes how a safety plan (what students will do to keep others safe when they exhibit their project to others) can improve situational awareness. “Safety plans make you and your students more confident that you are all aware of the foreseeable risks, considered possible consequences, and have taken all the precautions you could to ensure everyone’s safety.”

The three areas of focus in our makerspace (circuit building, construction, and textiles) differ enough that they should each have specific safety rules for their particular tools. For the circuit building station, students will be working with tools such as wire cutters and pliers which could pinch or cut fingers. They may also be using a soldering iron, which heats to a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, a potential source of burns. In the sewing station, sharp scissors and seam rippers create the potential for cuts, while pins, needles, and the sewing machine could puncture skin, especially fingers. An iron, used for pressing fabric, could also cause burns. The construction station uses a variety of hardware and tools, including nails, screws, glue, hammers, hand drills, and hand saws. Cuts, punctures, and crush injuries are all possible, even while using basic non-powered equipment. While I don’t plan on having any power tools when beginning my makerspace, there is potential that these could be added which would necessitate the need for additional safety rules to be put in place.

Resources:

Bicard, D. F. (2000). Using classroom rules to construct behavior. Middle School Journal, 31(5), 37–45.

Hlubinka, M. (2013, September 02). Safety in School Makerspaces | Make:. Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://makezine.com/2013/09/02/safety-in-school-makerspaces/

Kostewicz, D.E., Ruhl, K.L., & Kubina Jr., R.M. (2008). Creating classroom rules for students with emotional and behavioral disorders: A decision-making guide.  Beyond Behavior. Spring, 14-21.

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Torrance, CA.

SLO Makerspaces Rules and General Safety. (2013, December 26). Retrieved June 29, 2016, from http://www.slomakerspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/SLOMakerSpaceRulesandGeneralSafety.pdf

Week 6 Reflection

Dedicated to John Davies (March 30, 1939 – September 29, 2014)

This week’s post was a challenging one to write on a personal level. My dad was an electronics repairman and a hoarder collector of cast-off electronics. He had an atrocious unbelievable number of non-working vcrs, dvd players, stereos, tvs, printers, desktop computers, laptops, record players, etc., all stacked haphazardly and mixed in with many other mechanical and everyday “treasures” in a giant garage. While his career was spent working for a company, my dad was happiest when he could fix something for a neighbor who couldn’t afford a service call. His stockpile of castoff goods allowed him to usually find replacement parts for these jobs at no cost.

One of the greatest pack rats who ever lived, my dad was the first person I thought of when I thought about stocking a makerspace. He would have gladly put on his coveralls, taken a big empty box and his tools, and tromped down to his garage to fill it with all sorts of treasures for my makerspace. He would have stripped computers for prime parts and gutted vcrs looking for the useful components they contained. Each item that he added to the box (circuit boards, motors, wires, lights, gears, etc.) would have put a smile on his face. After boxing it up and sending it to me, he would have asked for the addresses of each of my classmates so he could send them similar boxes of treasures.

While my dad never had much money, he always had a kind and generous spirit. When I read through each of the blog posts for this week, I could see a commonality in how most of us are looking for those qualities to help fund our makerspaces, whether through individual, community, or organizational donations. Jeff indicated he would be looking to the community (the same generous one I live in) for funding, while Aleta, Genevieve, and Anastasia indicated they would ask for funding from their local Native Corporations.

The blogs of others remind me how individual we all are. Some of us have extremely detailed lists with very specific projects in mind while others have less specific lists. Some of us are looking for cutting-edge technology while others are looking for a more basic starting point. Depending on each individuals location, shipping can be a great concern, whether it is extra cost or availability (sometimes certain things can’t be shipped by all carriers). I like how several classmates used spreadsheets to create an inventory list. This is something I can see myself using, printing it out and keeping it posted by the makerspace so I could quickly make notes on it if supplies were used up and needed to be reordered.

This week I replied to Sara’s and Aleta’s blogs.

On Sara’s blog I wrote:

I love your inventory spreadsheet! Having such a neat and precise layout of supplies makes it easy to see what you have, what you need, and in the future, what might need to be ordered. I think this would also be helpful when asking for funding because everything is so specific and the person or organization providing assistance can easily see where their money will be going.

I left the following response on Aleta’s blog:

Aleta, you have done a nice job of not only looking at what you might want to have in your space, but also the challenges of having such items. Rural Alaska poses such an array of different challenges to setting up a makerspace. Even though Sitka is urban by Alaska standards, ordering simple items such as button batteries has posed a challenge because of delivery issues. Repairs and support for equipment is a consideration I hadn’t considered as well.

Your ideas for funding are excellent. Local corporations have a vested interest in their future employees, so providing quality educational experiences to students benefits everyone.

EDET 677: Week 6

Essential Question: What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

Each makerspace is an individual experience. It is built around the needs of the users, the passions of the creator, and the availability of materials. In order for a makerspace to be an approved part of the curriculum in a classroom, the teacher must be able to justify its usefulness in helping students make curricular connections and demonstrate mastery of required standards.

In the spirit of designing units using the model of Understanding by Design (Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe ), I have found it fairly easy to come up with a question I want students to be able to answer and then work backwards to create a hands-on learning opportunity which suits itself to a makerspace. The wonderful thing about the process of making is that many standards can be addressed during the creation of one project, so while the making takes time, the breadth and depth of understanding can be far greater than just working on single standards in isolation.

A suggestion for setting up a makerspace (Martinez & Stager, p. 88), is to focus on something of personal interest. As I have a passion for quilting, and a stockpile of fabric to prove it, one of the components of my makerspace would be a sewing station. I’ve even thought of a cheesy name for it: The Fabrication Station. In the 1950s, my grandma had a live television show in Anchorage through the extension office of the university. She would demonstrate different appliances and home economics techniques. One of the perks was getting to buy the demo materials at cost. I have her 1950s Singer 301 sewing machine which I would add, along with a large assortment of material and notions, to the Fabrication Station. Initial cost: $0. There is an active quilting guild in town, so I would have my students write a letter asking for donations of fabric scraps which would otherwise be thrown away to help keep this station stocked in the future. I would also love to incorporate wearable technology into this station, which comes at a cost. This could be funded by selling creations from the station itself, as suggested by Michelle Hlubinka (Make, 2013).

As a science teacher, I love the idea of students creating circuits in an environment where they have the freedom to explore different configurations on their own or in small groups. I envision this portion of the makerspace (The Staying Current Station?) having a variety of different types of electronics for exploration. A Snap Circuit set, squishy circuits (with some basic electronic components), and an Arduino with a dedicated desktop for programming are all parts of the Staying Current Station I am envisioning. Buying components is pretty inexpensive, but I would like to try to source some of these locally first, particularly from broken small appliances that would otherwise end up on a garbage barge heading south. Sitka also has a local hardware store, so there is a possibility of getting a small donation for components if the students write a letter, as suggested by Paloma Garcia-Lopez (Edutopia, 2013). I have the Arduino and just bought a second as well as a Snap Circuit set and a couple desktops in my classroom. I also have a soldering iron and a multimeter which could be used as needed. Total cost: unknown at this time.

Because I want to start small, and space is pretty limited, I would like to have just one more station in my makerspace: the Construction Junction Station. Here I would have basic building supplies such as wood scraps (pallets, ends from local carpenters), nails, screws, glue, hammer, hand drill, hand saws, Popsicle sticks, construction paper, cardboard, tape (packing, masking, and duct), pipe cleaners, glitter, etc. Again, much of the hardware is available at the local hardware store and they might be willing to make a donation. It is also worth the effort to ask parents and community members if they might also have extra tools and hardware that they would be willing to donate.

Initially, I feel that the supplies needed to get the makerspace set up can be obtained at a fairly low cost. I would love to host a class garage sale or a used book sale to help fund our space. I think the biggest cost is going to be setting up a usable working area, so I’ve been scouring Craigslist and the local Facebook sale page for sturdy tables. I can see buying a couple sturdy tables, removing the legs, and replacing them with legs that make for a comfortable standing height for students. I’ve also considered a thick piece of 4′ by 8′ plywood which I could also attach legs to. Cost: unknown.

The other big cost I see is organizational supplies. Baskets, bins, and tubs are not cheap but can go a long way in making a space usable. I’ve been considering several options, including cutting down sturdy cardboard boxes and placing smaller cut down boxes inside to compartmentalize, reusing empty plastic produce and food containers in various sizes, and building small boxes out of reclaimed pallets. I have a large, heavy-duty wire shelf on wheels which can be moved around the classroom as needed and hold many supplies, such as the lumber. Cost: time.

Resources:

Hlubinka, M. (2013, September 5). Funding School Makerspaces. Make online. Retrieved from http://makezine.com/2013/09/05/funding-school-makerspaces/

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Torrance, CA.

Paloma-Garcia, L. (2013, September 5). 6 Strategies for Funding a Makerspace. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/6-strategies-funding-makerspace-paloma-garcia-lopez

Wiggins, G. P., McTighe, J., Kiernan, L. J., Frost, F., & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (1998). Understanding by design. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

Week 5 Reflection

The struggle is real. At least in my mind. On Monday, I read all the material and set out to write my blog post for the week, but there was a battle going on in my brain. I needed more time to think, to process the information and consider how it applied to my teaching style and what I have seen throughout my educational experience. As my classmates started posting to their blogs, I read with interest, but could still not commit words to paper.

Thursday night, with the pressure of a deadline, I was able to write my post. I’m not sure it explains everything that I struggle with when teaching to such a wide range of learners, such a diverse set of needs. I wish my words had been more eloquent, flowing as freely onto the screen as they flowed through my brain.

My takeaway from this week is that we are all here because we care. Each of us wants to improve the way we reach students, making the experience of education a better one for each of the lives we impact. I don’t ever take that privilege lightly. I have seen what good educators can do for kids in crisis, and I’ve seen where they have failed. Thinking outside the box, moving beyond the “habitus,” can help us reach those learners who would otherwise not be engaged, and who would likely find other ways (often negative) to engage themselves.

The online makerspace served as a good time to get to see how everyone is progressing with the Aurduino. If we are going to divide up into small groups again (which I enjoyed), that might be better facilitated by having us all take some sort of poll or survey just prior to our meeting time so that we can break into groups faster. Sharing our projects with one another was difficult due to the small size of the screen, so perhaps a different platform would work better.

This week I read everyone’s blog posts and replied to three of them (Gerald, Sara, and Josie). I really did enjoy reading everyone’s thoughts on teaching and learning.

On Gerald’s post, I wrote:

Gerald-
Your post made me smile. I like how you are able to put so much of your personality in your writing. I wrote about my first experience with changing my “habitus” for EDET 637. I was teaching freshman biology and couldn’t use the textbook due to the gross amount of misinformation printed in it. I was forced to modify my teaching style to fit my resources. Here is a link describing the process:
https://katemullin17.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/what-is-differentiated-instruction/
This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel that direct instruction doesn’t have a place in the classroom. In fact, I asked for special permission to be trained in Reading Mastery, an SRA direct instruction reading program, when I was teaching primary students in the Lake and Peninsula School District. In that situation, the curriculum and the instructional method were highly effective. I think effective teaching is mostly about knowing your students and their needs, then doing your best to provide for what they need. The simple fact that you are saying, “Hey, I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, I think I know best,” speaks volumes about the type of teacher you are.
Kate
P.S. I love the cartoons at the bottom of the post!

In response to Sara’s post, I wrote:

Sara,

Yes! There was a ton of material to process this week, not in volume, but in depth. I was sure I was ready to write my blog post on Monday, but more and more ideas kept rolling around in my head as I continued to reflect on how everything I had read tied together.

I, too, keyed into “the longer you delay students from getting to the ‘making’ part of the design cycle, the more students will disengage and the longer it will take to learn the lessons” (Martinez & Stager, 2013). As I transitioned from teaching secondary education to a primary classroom, this became even more apparent. Keeping a room full of five through eight year olds engaged and on-task became a fine balancing act of providing just enough information to get them heading in the correct direction without losing them in the process. I failed at it miserably too many times to count, and as a result there were always behavior issues to deal with.

You did a great job articulating your thoughts on the subject of teaching and learning this week. I really enjoyed your blog post!

Kate

And, finally, on Josie’s post, I wrote:

Josie,

I have taught in many situations which could be considered challenging, but I didn’t know challenge until I had my own children. Being their first teacher has opened my eyes to many things, mainly humility.

Your perspective on varying classroom teaching strategies is such an important one. So often, we operate in isolation, without the benefit of observing what might be working better in another classroom. Sometimes this isolation is by choice, but often it is due to factors beyond our immediate control (building design, schedules, etc). Those educators with a growth mindset continue to research and look for ways to make their instruction more effective. Those with a fixed mindset continue on as they always have.

I just completed a certificate in gifted and talented education and some of the most valuable materials provided for the courses were videos of teachers implementing lessons in very different, yet effective, ways. As I watched, I would catch myself thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” I made a note to myself to watch more videos of classroom teaching strategies. Reading about them is good, but seeing them in action is even better!

Thanks for your perspective on this topic!
Kate

EDET 677: Week 5

Essential Question:  What is the relationship between teaching and learning?

Education is what people do to you. Learning is what you do for yourself.” –Joi Ito

For me, this week kept bring one word to mind: semantics. Teaching, as defined by Merriam-Webster (2015), is the act, practice, or profession of a teacher. Constructionism is one theory of teaching (Martinez & Stager, p 71). Learning, as defined by Merriam-Webster (2015), is the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something. Constructivism is a theory of learning (Martinez & Stager, p 71). Two words, interconnected in many ways, with a wide spectrum of definitions.

I would first like to explore the term teaching. The images conjured up by this word can be as varied as the hues of the color spectrum. Some might picture a rigid classroom structure with desks lined up in rows and nothing but lecture from the instructor, while others might envision a guiding instructor moving through a room of students as they work to discover information on their own. These are the extremes of instructionism and constructionism, but teaching can fall anywhere in between as well.

Learning, therefore, is how our students respond to our teaching. I don’t think it is fair to say that students don’t learn in an environment of instructionism. There are many highly successful people who have been taught using this style of teaching. It is more accurate to say that this type of teaching is not effective for all students and there are countless other adults whose lives might have been considerably different if a different style of teaching had dominated their school experience.

Learning is a highly individualized task. The person doing the teaching needs to facilitate learning opportunities by providing support to the learner through resources and guidance. It is also important to understand the interests of the learner, providing opportunities to further expand upon those interests and to connect them to other learning events.

image source: http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/1417-education-vs-learning-what-exactly-is-the-difference

Curiosity is a critical component of a successful learning environment. Students who are curious about how and why things work the way they do are eager to explore further. Getting kids thinking and questioning is what gets them learning. Michael Stevens, creator of Vsauce (Videos That Feed the Curious and Illuminate the Amazing) and asker of intriguing questions, has the following to say:

“Sparking curiosity is great bait. It’s a great way to catch a human. And once you’ve caught them, you have this captive audiences, that you can, with the goal in mind of answering the question, accidentally teach a lot of things to.”  – Michael Stevens (2013)

Teaching and learning can happily coexist when teaching meets the needs of the learner!

Resources:

Holman, M. (2014, August 6). Education versus learning – what exactly is the difference? Retrieved from http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/1417-education-vs-learning-what-exactly-is-the-difference

Martinez, S. L. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Torrance, CA.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2015). Online version. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary

Stevens, M. (2013, February). How much does a video weigh? TedEd. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/how_much_does_a_video_weigh

Week 4 Reflection

This week, I felt very challenged while writing my blog post. Reading other posts, I feel as though I was not alone. At first, I thought I would choose a ‘making’ project and then build a unit around that, but I found that it was easier for me to think of a unit plan and then choose a ‘making’ project which helped provide continuous challenge and feedback to the students throughout the duration of the unit.

I see how fortunate I am to work in a self-contained classroom where I can incorporate standards across the curriculum with ease. Those working in single-subject classrooms at the middle and high school level (especially math) seemed to have a harder time incorporating the ‘making’ aspect without drawing on other subject areas. I personally feel that isolating subjects is not a natural way for them to exist, so it only makes sense to draw from other areas. When I was teaching biology to 9th graders, we used math, history, technology, and English all the time, but I didn’t take it the one step further and coordinate with the teachers of those subjects to teach comprehensive units across our subjects.

I was inspired by all the ideas presented and responded to Gerald’s and Catherine’s blogs this week.

In response to Gerald’s post, I wrote:

When they say a photograph is worth a thousand words, I’m not sure they were thinking of a photograph of the magnitude of the one in your post. That is absolutely incredible. In some ways, it leaves me speechless.

I love the idea of your project. I really like the specificity of the task with the unlimited options for completing it! Sure, there will be those who google a design and build it to spec, but there will be others whose imaginations will soar and whose cameras will be working pieces of art.

This week at Sitka Fine Arts Camp, an adult photography class was taught by Will Wilson. I was not able to take the class, but I spoke with a friend who did take it and she brought me in to see some of the work. Here is a link to the artist and a project he is working on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8oHn_gBEZk

What my friend was most excited about was a side project this artist did, which I think would be great to do at any grade level. The artist took a positive Wet Plate Collodion image of his wife holding her violin (obviously, a digital picture could be used here), then used his phone to capture her in the same position, starting to record video moments after he took the still photograph. She played a piece on the violin while remaining in the same location where she was photographed. He then used an app on his phone to recognize the still photo and superimpose the video image over the still so that the still image comes to life when the phone is held up to it. I just heard about this yesterday, so I haven’t had time to find out all of the information, but I think this would be an amazing way to capture biographies or autobiographies, both of community members and students. My mind is buzzing with the potential, so I thought I’d share.

On Catherine’s post, I wrote the following comment:

Your post really highlighted one of my main complaints about the American educational system and that is the compartmentalization of subjects. It is hard to convince students that their grammar should be graded in a biology class or that they need to use math in a history classroom when we, as educators, do such of fine job of completely separating these subjects. I would say that we do a better job of integration at the younger grades, but it is difficult to find an elementary classroom which doesn’t have designated math, reading, writing, science and social studies times. Usually the arts are presented independent of these as well.

I think circuits are a wonderful way to integrate making with your math curriculum! And I have been coveting those pens Aleta referenced in her comment and would love to hear about them if you use them. I might even buy one and use it on my bulletin board for the start of school. If I do, I’ll be sure to give you some feedback!

EDET 677: Week 4

Essential Question:  What project could help me integrate my content with making?

If you aren’t yet familiar with the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf, I will quickly summarize. Two impatient (dare we call them lazy) brothers build sub-par houses which are adequate for the purpose of shelter but do not provide protection against the big bad wolf, who easily knocks them over with a huff and a puff. The third brother postpones personal satisfaction and spends time acquiring top-of-the-line building products and then uses these products to carefully construct a house which not only provides shelter but also protection. The two brothers who built their houses in haste capitalize on the thorough nature of their brother and seek refuge with him in his house which is wolf-proof.

As a young child, the takeaway I got from this story was straw and sticks were inadequate building materials and there was no way they would ever stand up to wolves, or at least their exceptional powers of breathing. Bricks were it! Anything less was a recipe for disaster.

Through the years, my thinking changed. I began to wonder if the straw and stick houses might have actually been adequate protection against the wolf if the brothers who built them had been better engineers. What if they had used different materials to hold the straw and sticks together? If their older brother had used bricks but then held them together with chocolate pudding, would his house have been nearly as strong? What if the two brothers had though of a different design when building their houses. A design that allows air to flow smoothly around it (curved sides instead of flat) would be impacted far less than typical square walls.

The project I would like to use to help me integrate my content with making is building a “puff-proof” house out of materials which would normally be considered a fool’s choice: straw, sticks, etc. Is there something those first two brothers overlooked when they chose their building materials? When they chose their design?

While the reading level of the supporting literature (see list below) is not at 5th grade reading level, I do not expect this project to fulfill reading standards. I plan to use this project to really work on the writing as well as the speaking and listening portions of the ELA curriculum. Next Generation Science Standards pertaining to engineering will also be addressed.

Possible Prompt: Build a structure which can withstand three seconds of wolf blasting (fan on high).

Considering the eight elements of a good project (Martinez & Stager, p. 58):

  1. Purpose and Relevance: The 5th grade year sees students in Sitka learning basic outdoor survival skills. Building stable structures is an important skill to learn. Performing a similar task on a small scale will provide students with valuable first-hand knowledge of what makes a good structure and what will not stand up to certain elements.
  2. Time: Students will be able to construct structures over an extended period of time with plenty of opportunity for revisions.
  3. Complexity: While the building of the structures involves engineering skills, students will be documenting their progress and using this information to prepare written documents and make presentations.
  4. Intensity: Students can make structures as detailed as they choose, making modifications as necessary.
  5. Connection: Students will work collaboratively on structures, but will also be encouraged to draw from the successes and failures of other groups.
  6. Access: This deals with materials and I am hoping to have students create their structures using common items from the Sitka environment (beach grass, alder branches, etc).
  7. Shareability: I would like to make wolf blasting trial videos available on a class website so students can share their progress with their parents.
  8. Novelty: Keeping a visual library of the progression of structures will help other students see what has been tried, what has worked, what has failed, and what can be improved upon without needing to try every method themselves.

Regarding questions worth asking (Martinez & Stager, p 59):

  • Is the problem solvable? Yes it is, but not necessarily in one way. Because each group will bring their own strengths and insights, there could be a wide array of successful structures.
  • Is the project monumental or substantial? I hope this project is more substantial!
  • Who does the project satisfy? I have seen students itching to build, to tinker, to prove their knowledge in a hands-on way. I think these are the students who will be most satisfied by this project.
  • What can they do with that? I am planning on this being one of the first introductions to making, any activity where people create something, often with their hands (Vanderwerff, 2014), in my classroom. Students can take the knowledge of the process and apply it to future projects.

Writing. Speaking and Listening. Engineering. Standards.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.2
    Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.3
    Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.7
    Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1
    Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.4
    Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • Next Generation Science Standards: 3-5-ETS1-2. Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Supporting Literature for project:

  • The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury
  • The Three Little Javelinas (Reading Rainbow Book) by Susan Lowell and Jim Harris
  • Alaska’s Three Pigs (PAWS IV) by Arlene Laverde and Mindy Dwyer
  • The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale Hardcover by Steven Guarnaccia
  • The Three Little Pigs (Disney Classic) (Little Golden Book) by RH Disney

References:

English Language Arts Standards. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/

Martinez, S.L. & Stager, G.S. (2013). Invent to learn: making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Torrance, CA.

Next Generation Science Standards. Retrieved from http://www.nextgenscience.org/pe/3-5-ets1-2-engineering-design

Vanderwerff, A. (2014). Makers in the classroom – a how-to guide. EdSurge. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-05-14-makers-in-the-classroom-a-how-to-guide