Saturday, May 20, 2017

Maker Club - A Year in Review

At KAS, teachers are required to coach a sport or supervise two activities a year. This year was an active one for me; I coached MS Softball and MS Soccer and did seven sessions of Maker Club at all levels.

KAS does not have a design thinking/maker culture, so part of the challenge was to create it.

This year's maker club schedule looked like this:


Last year I was asked to do a tech-related club, so I started with an Elementary Coding Club. A few weeks into it, I was told that a few rambunctious Middle School Students were really good at coding and were far ahead of their classmates, so I thought it might be a good idea to enroll them to help with the club.

For them, it was a good way to help their self-esteem and give them a little leadership experience. For me, it was a good lesson in learning to help students structure lessons they give and give some "problem" students a chance to show their skills to younger students and hopefully increase their self-esteem.

This year I did one season of ES Maker Club. I had 11 students, then I was asked to take 16 more, I agreed, and it turned out a little chaotic. There were some students who really got into coding (they used their make club time to work more on the coding they were doing in IT class) and there were some students who got into the LEGO robots I brought in.

I tried a system where we took a class period to learn a new skill, then the next week we learned another, and students could choose between the two. I continued this way through the season, but the problem with this was students could not spend as much time with the skills I presented later in the club. Before the club-size more than doubled, I had intended to set up stations where students could do what they wanted.

Middle School

After School

When I got my student list for the MS, I was surprised to see that I only had two students. Reading the names, I saw they were both girls. This was interesting since I just had a cohort of too many students in ES and now I only had a pair of students.

What would I do with two girls?

I started off with the 3D pens. We then went on to using the small drone I have. I then gave them the task of choosing what they wanted to create and use their time after school to simply make things.

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Flex Time

Near the beginning of the season, I was asked to do a Marker Club for Middle School during the day, in Flex Time. Flex Time is once a week, and it is a time for students to try activities or clubs they are interested in.

High School

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Last year I started the HS IT Club to give students a chance to explore what they wanted. Many days I would find students off task and the attendance was rather low on some days.

This year, I decided to shift the focus to more of a Maker Club, where they could have the time and space to explore IT concepts. It ended up being time well spent.

It was really cool to see students bring in projects they were working on, like the electric current gadget below, and show other students a new skill, like teaching them how to make headphones.

Some things students did were:
  • fix the 3D Printer 
  • assemble robots 
  • play with robots 
  • present to each other and make websites and headphones 
  • take apart old equipment and explore their parts 
  • experience a presentation by Acer

More importantly, students:
  • formed friendships 
  • found a space to socialize 
  • sparked curiosity 
  • gained confidence in themselves

A post shared by Thomas Hammerlund (@thomashammerlund) on

A post shared by Thomas Hammerlund (@thomashammerlund) on

A post shared by Thomas Hammerlund (@thomashammerlund) on

A post shared by Thomas Hammerlund (@thomashammerlund) on

A post shared by Thomas Hammerlund (@thomashammerlund) on

A post shared by Thomas Hammerlund (@thomashammerlund) on

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