Makers in Schools Project: Year 1

 

We began the project with a two-day training session with the teachers participating from each school. The teachers we are collaborating with com from a range of disciplines; Science, Home Economics, Irish, Technology, Art, etc.

The training consisted of a number of introductory workshops exploring software, hardware, and other tools that may be useful to explore STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) subjects. Technology including; MaKey MaKey, Arduino, BBC Micro:bit, Circuitry & Soldering.

At Make Create Innovate, creativity is central to our work and, as such, our training sessions incorporated many creative elements used to explore the technology:

·      Build Your Own Musical Instrument – using MaKey Makey

·      Explore Sensors: Design the Future – using Arduino

·      Design and Make a Treasure Hunt Game – using the BBC Micro:bit

·      Design and Make LED Art – using circuitry and soldering

Subsequent to the training, each school decided on the materials and equipment they wanted to purchase for the project and we then set about scheduling a series of workshops in each school throughout the year.

Each session was led by Make Create Innovate and co-facilitated by one or more teachers from the school. Workshops were made up of a combination of those delivered during our teacher training sessions and new workshops specifically designed for the school group.

Workshops included:

1.   Build Your Own Musical Instrument

2.   Design and Make LED Art

3.   Design & Make a Buzz Wire Game

4.   Interactive Map-Making

5.   Design & Make an LED Banner

6.   Make a Micro:bit Buggy

7.   Maker Skills Workshop

We are currently developing a resource which will outline learning opportunities available in each of the above workshops. Our aim is to clearly outline each workshop in a lesson plan format, illustrating key skills as well as learning outcomes as set out by each curricula according to the Department of Education and Skills.

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In March, we ran another training day in order for the teachers involved to continue their own development of skills using the kinds of technology they are introducing to their schools. Including;

·      A closer look at motors and adaptation

·      Using online resources (including datasheets) to continue learning

·      A closer look at power and how to integrate into larger projects

·      A closer look at soldering/ de-soldering and use of types of protoboards

·      Further exploration of electronic components e.g. switches, transistors, etc.

As part of the evaluation of our project we are collecting data on a school-wide basis (staff and students) as well as those taking part in our Makers in Schools project.

A key part of our learning so far in the project is that, in order for teachers to feel comfortable integrating this ‘maker’ approach to the curricula in which they teach, they require support in order to feel confident doing this, including:

·      Access to the technology

·      Support from colleagues

·      Specific training

·      Time to explore technology

 See some of our preliminary results here: