In the four years that I have been at my school, we had never had clubs that met during school. But this year, we started holding clubs every other Monday with the 6th graders. I was so excited when I found out about this opportunity, and I immediately knew what I wanted to start: a K’nex club. I don’t have enough diversity in materials yet to hold a full-on Maker’s Club (that will be next year). Since I had been given several tubs of K’nex to start out our Makerspace, I decided to make that our focus.
Our first club meeting fell on the week of Digital Learning Day, so I incorporated that into the program. I gave my sixteen students a task: work with your groups to design a tripod that can hold an iPod touch or iPhone. The goal was to use the tripods and devices to create a stop motion video of our activities. Before they were allowed to start building, the students brainstormed their ideas on paper. It was great to see them all working together coming up with completely divergent solutions. After the brainstorming, the building and field testing began. Some of the designs were perfect; most needed some tweaking. Finally, the students were ready to make their videos. They set up their tripods, started recording (we used Stop Motion Studio), and got to work on free building projects. Every few minutes, they would move their tripod set-ups to different locations. At the end of the meeting, I worked one-on-one with several of the students to edit the videos and import them into iMovie, where they added music and sound effects.
For Digital Learning Day itself, my K’nex club students got to bring their lunches to the media center and we Skyped with fourth graders from a local elementary school. My students came up to the mic and showed off their creations. It was so awesome to hear the elementary kids ooh and ah over my students’ projects. You could see the pride in their faces. Several of the students are shy, but they lit up when they talked about their projects. One of my students showed our video, while another gave a basic K’nex demonstration. Now the media specialist (@OkleMiller) of the school we Skyped with is telling me that all her kids are asking for K’nex 🙂
It was an amazing opportunity to connect with another school, and I think it was a great way to start out our new K’nex club in our Makerspace.