Category Archives: Student Products

Makerspace Essentials – The Collection

Over the last couple of years, I have written quite a few posts about makerspaces and maker education.  Even though I have a “Make!” Pinterest Board, I thought I should gather some of these posts in one place to make them easier to find.  So, here are some of the “essentials” I’ve published so far.

I will try to keep adding to this list as I post more resources!


Ozobot Cardboard Mini Challenge Playbook

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a huge, Gigantic, ENORMOUS fan of the Global Cardboard Challenge.  Here are some of my lessons learned from last year’s incredible adventure.  And here are some of the reasons I love the Cardboard Challenge so much.

This year’s Cardboard Challenge culminates on October 10th, 2015. You can read more about it on the Imagination Foundation’s website .

One of the companies partnering with Imagination Foundation this year is Ozobot.  For those of you who don’t know, Ozobot is a tiny robot that performs actions based on colored lines.  The latest version of the robot, Ozobit, also has the capability to be programmed using Ozoblockly.

For ideas on how to use little Ozobot as part of a cardboard creation, you can download Ozobot’s Cardboard Mini Challenge Playbook, which has Cardboard Challenge resources and activity suggestions.

You don’t need an Ozobot to participate in the Global Cardboard Challenge – but it sure can bring an additional element of fun to your project!

Image from: BenSpark on Flickr
Image from: BenSpark on FlickrOzo


New Hopscotch Curriculum

Hopscotch has been a favorite programming app of my students ever since they tried it for the Hour of Code a couple of years ago. One of my 5th graders chose to use Hopscotch to create his entire Genius Hour presentation last year.

Hopscotch is now offering a new curriculum for educators and I had a chance to sneak preview it before yesterday’s release.  I am very impressed by the format of the lessons, which were created using the Understanding by Design framework.

There are 6 lessons, about 45 minutes each, targeted for 5th-8th grades. However,  there is a lot of flexibility that allows for modifications for younger and older students.  The lessons include ideas for differentiation and detailed suggestions to include many levels.

Math, Engineering, and Computer Science Standards are included in the lessons.  Videos links are offered for all 6 activities to either use with your class or for the teacher to watch to gain better understanding.  Hopscotch not only differentiates for the students, but also for the teachers by making the instructions very clear for even those who have never used the app before.

I am excited that Hopscotch is offering such an amazing free resource for educators.  This app encourages creativity and problem-solving while teaching logic and many math skills.  Don’t worry if you have never programmed before.  With Hopscotch, you and your students can learn together.

Hopscotch Curriculum

Makey Makey Lesson Plans – Beyond the Piano

Many of you, like me, may have found the Makey Makey to be quite fun and a great way to inspire creativity.  But where to go from there?   Makey Makey now offers a Lesson Plans section with suggestions for integrating the Makey Makey into your classroom. The current list is fairly short, but I’m guessing there will be more added as time goes by.  I like the ideas, particularly since they are way more creative than anything I would dream up.  My favorite is the Candid Camera one, which would be a great way to spark writing in the classroom.

from Makey Makey Lessons
from Makey Makey Lessons

Pixar in a Box

Pixar in a Box is the result of a collaboration between Pixar and Khan Academy.  A student who is interested in a career in computer animation, or even just wants to know what happens behind the scenes, can learn the basics in six topics: Environment Modeling, Character Modeling, Animation, Crowds, Sets & Staging, and Rendering.  Each stage includes videos (with interviews from some of the Pixar employees as well as samples from movies), online practice, and hands-on suggestions.  Portions of each topic are targeted for “all age levels” while others are for middle and high school students.

My daughter, who is 12, tried out the beginning unit, which is Environment Modeling.  She was quickly engaged in learning how to animate a blade of grass.  The lesson videos were the right length and she really enjoyed the practice.  I question whether “all ages” would have found it as interesting as my daughter did; for her it was the perfect level of challenge.

Khan Academy has been the topic of controversy.  In my opinion, that has been because it has been used incorrectly by some.  Khan Academy lessons should not be assigned to replace the guidance and feedback of a live teacher.  However, they offer a wonderful opportunity for students to learn at their own pace about something of interest or as a supplement to lessons that might not have been initially understood in school.

I think my daughter enjoyed Pixar in a Box because I was sitting beside her – just as enthusiastic to learn and practice.  She has shown an affinity for both math and art, so learning more about animation did not seem like work to her.  If you have a child or student who also shows those qualities, then I would definitely recommend the two of you check out Pixar in a Box together.

image from: Khan Academy/Pixar
image from: Khan Academy/Pixar

You Have Failed Me for the Last Time!

Two librarians in our district had me laughing so hard this week that grumpy cat would have spontaneously combusted if he was within hearing distance.

The librarians assigned their students to create memes for the library.  The results were so clever that I asked to share them for this week’s Phun Phriday post.

Student Created Library Meme courtesy of Sara Romine
Student Created Library Meme courtesy of Sara Romine

Sara Romine, otherwise known as @laffinglibrary, did a fabulous job explaining the whole process and giving examples in her most recent blog post.  My favorite library meme from her school is the last one; I’m pretty sure I look like that whenever I enjoy a good book!

Wendy Howk, @whowk, had her students add their memes to a Google Slides presentation.  Here is a link to the “highlights.” This is one of my favorites:

Student Created Library Meme via Wendy Howk

For more ideas on using memes, check out this post.

Back to School – Designed by Students

How cool is this?!!!! Staples collaborated with students at The Ron Clark Academy to design brand new school supplies.  The pupils went through the Design Process to create products that are useful and appealing.  You can see the students presenting their ideas in the video below.

Here is a link to the full list of student-designed products that can now be found on the shelves and online at Staples.  I am so impressed with the ingenuity of these students, and wish I had some of these items when I was attending school!  If you have a child shopping for the brand new year, consider purchasing one of these great supplies.  And, if you are a teacher, consider the value of allowing students to come up with an idea and see it through to a conclusion where it impacts people in the real world.

Floating Locker Shelves designed by students at the Ron Clark Academy and available at Staples
Floating Locker Shelves designed by students at the Ron Clark Academy and available at Staples
Portable Desk designed by students at The Ron Clark Academy - available for purchase at Staples
Portable Desk designed by students at The Ron Clark Academy – available for purchase at Staples