FROM MAKERSPACE TO MAKER MOVEMENT: CREATIVITY THROUGHOUT OUR SCHOOL
In 2013-14, the SAS community came together to raise seed money for the makerspace project on campus. This generosity allowed a small, focused initiative, which began as a dedicated space and equipment, to develop into a school-wide culture fostering creativity, collaboration, problem solving, and student empowerment across all three divisions.
HIGH SCHOOL MAKER MOVEMENT
The maker movement was initiated by eight high school teachers who worked together to build our maker culture and community, then gave it over to the students who now oversee the planning, integration, and implementation of specific programs. Some maker movement events include:
- Drone challenge: Robotics teams worked on flying lightweight rangefinder altimeters and collision avoidance sensors. The outcome of this challenge was the creation of a drone club.
- Hack-a-thon: six-hour event staged for computer science programmers and others to collaborate on software projects and learn about code. This event was held in conjunction with the Catalyst program.
- Junk box “wars”: modeled after the Junkyard Wars TV show. Coming back this spring, students will receive boxes of miscellaneous junk and use their imaginations and scientific knowledge to create a variety of devices that perform a range of tasks.
- NaNoWriMo: The annual novel writing project brought together students and professional writers to create a 50,000-word novel.
- Projectile competition: students created devices and predicted projection ranges of materials.
- Spoken word and musical performances: students organize poetry slams, musical performances and lectures which include academic visitors-in-residence and other visiting artists. These events now happen every Friday morning.
In addition to these maker events, we added equipment such as Tricaster Media broadcasting equipment used for journalism classes, portable speakers used for student performances during Friday high school lunch breaks, general supplies, keva planks for building and design, a large format printer, a laser cutter for prototyping, 3D printers, display units to feature student work, and miscellaneous building equipment. The maker movement has encouraged and integrated both innovation and design into existing classes including science, technology, careers, art, language arts, and Catalyst and advanced topics courses.
MIDDLE SCHOOL MAKER MOVEMENT
Maker activities can be found across the middle school and were helped significantly by the addition of three maker carts that are used to service classrooms throughout the middle school. These three-tiered maker carts were designed, engineered and built completely by students for the storage and transportation of maker materials such as 3D printers, glue sticks, paper, pipe cleaners, and a variety of tools. Students create and prototype anything from atoms to housing projects with the carts that are wheeled between classrooms.
Middle school maker funding was also used to purchase 3D printers, which are located in the technology department. With the evolving nature of 3D printer technology, students are learning design, 3D modeling, troubleshooting skills, open source coding, and even thermal mechanics relating to the discovery of various printing reactions based on room temperatures.
Finally, through an information technology elective, students explored creative computing and interactive robots called “Make-bots.” Middle school students designed, engineered, and programmed these make-bots, culminating in a robotic soccer match.
ELEMENTARY MAKER MOVEMENT
The maker movement in the elementary school has enabled an increase in combinations of consumable building and creating materials as well as Lego sets. All teachers in the elementary school have access to these materials and can check them out through the library. Elementary school students develop confidence, creativity, and spark their interests in science, technology, engineering, and math when making things.
Additionally, students use special Lego WeDo motorized construction kits in the GATE classroom and in second grade. The Lego WeDo kits introduce robotics to younger students by bringing together technology, engineering, and hands-on work that is project-based. Students learn basic principles of physics, mechanics, and programming through play.
We are grateful for your support for the growth of the maker culture at Singapore American School. Teachers and students at all levels benefit from the maker movement, which would not be possible without your involvement.