The Story of C.R.E.A.T.E.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Silicone Cake

When an afterschool tinker time regular asked me if we had a caulking gun, I didn't now how to answer. Nothing we had done in CREATE called for that sort of tool. Besides, how would a fifth grader even know about caulking guns?

I did have one squirreled away from the workbench construction in 2014 and I told her we did. It was the end of the session and she went home before I was able to ask her why she wanted it.

She arrived for the next session carrying a brown shopping bag. Inside was a ziplock bag, a cake decorating tip and a cartridge of white silicone. I handed her the caulking gun and showed her how to use it.

The cartridge had been previously opened and the tip was irretrievably clogged. But a couple of quick slices with a box cutter exposed the gooey white insides. Using a couple of popsicle sticks, she gooped the silicone into the bag, squished it down toward the decorating tip and proceeded to create permanent cake decoration.

The most satisfying events in CREATE are those that originate from the students without prompting from me. This student created her project in her mind and then proceeded to meet each challenge and eliminate each obstacle. It doesn't get much better for any educator.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Leprechaun Trap

Leprechaun Trap

If the kinder and 1st graders are building leprechaun traps, it must be St. Patrick's Day. But in CREATE, it's analyze, plan, build, and modify. Even the youngest students follow the design cycle.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Where is the Makerspace?

As much as we concentrate on tape, glue and batteries, none of these are necessary for a makerspace. 3-D printers are what we might show-off to visitors, but ours is easily the least used item in CREATE. I'm infamous in my family for turning coffeeshop tables into workshops with salt shakers, sugar packets and straws. A makerspace is a creature of imagination.

A catered-space makerspace
Recently, we were asked to demonstrate what we're doing in CREATE at our district's first State of the District presentation. Out of the two-hour ceremony, we were allotted 30 minutes. We brought 30 "design challenge boxes" packed with tape, scissors, box cutters and more, two two-student video crews and five members of our Mouse Squad to show the local movers and shakers how it's done. Oh yes, and a first-grader to serve as our emcee.

The Design Challenge boxes, stacked and ready to go. (Note the blue tape Sphero track on the floor.)

As soon as the boxes hit the tables, the energy in the room skyrocketed. The attendees went from listening to speeches to building "dogbone" shooters on their linen-covered tables.

I think we made our point.