38 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
these students wanted to use some more complex materials. We used the laser cutter for the MS Day 9
and since then, it has become a valuable asset for students trying to cut exact shapes and designs out of
different materials. Students use SketchUp to design models that could instantly be cut with precision.
This also opened up a whole new set of construction resources, moving from only cardboard to acrylic
and thin pieces of wood. Access to these resources have evolved student projects to become more
complex and creative.
The 3D printer has seen a different type of use. Students weren’t confident enough to design their own
objects in a 3D modeling software and then port that to the 3D printer. It was almost useless with ES
students where we had originally placed it because none of them could use the software. We have noticed
an increase in MS/HS students’ abilities to use 3D modeling programs. They are now starting to print their
own objects throughout the day. Students now are exploring modeling and printing objects for classes or
The maker movement has also initiated the start of two new clubs at ASB. The Programming and the
Engineering Clubs meet on Maker weekends and have increased the attendance of MS and HS students
at these events. Programming Club teaches students the basics of computer programming, and how to
design and create your own game and application. The Engineering Club has raised the bar for the projects
that students can make by challenging them to create a wind turbine, a bicycle powered phone charger,
and a plasma globe. Next year we are planning similar Engineering Clubs at ES and MS levels.
Our maker spaces will continue to evolve. As we
introduce more and different materials or
equipment, the possibilities of what students can
make grows tremendously. With the addition of
motors, we saw a major increase in the number of
vehicles being made, even by younger MS students
or by ES students with their families on the Maker
days. The horizon we should be looking towards is:
what are the next resources we can make available?
And how can we prompt students to begin
experimenting and trying to make something truly
innovative? The use of more craft tools such as wood
working equipment offers a flood of design
possibilities that have yet to be explored. Other
design oriented areas such as clothing design needs
to be explored with the addition of some simple resources such as mannequins and meters of cloth with
different prints. These are easily accessible resources and could interest a different group of students who
might be turned off by the idea of ‘making’ because they find it too focused on electronics or technology.
Building a maker culture is not without its road bumps or challenges. One challenge is the reuse of some
of the resources for younger students such as Snap Circuits and Little Bits. These resources have been
used since the start of the maker movement at ASB and we are seeing a dip in interest because of how
much they have been used. While this is good that students have become familiar with electronic circuits,
we need to explore unique ways to use these either on their own or in combination with other materials,
so there is no drop in interest. A potential solution is resource rotation or ensuring that resources such as
Snap Circuits and Little Bits are refreshed regularly. Another way to address this is to provide Maker
Challenges. A good prompt is priceless, but creating them is always a challenge. We use online resources
such as examining maker faires around the world for gathering ideas as our sources of inspiration.
Grade 3 experimenting with 3D pen