Category Archives: Student Products

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

littleBits Educator Resources

I have mentioned before that, if you are going to spend money on a Makerspace, littleBits are a worthwhile investment.  The company has added to their Educator Resources since my last post, and I want to point out a few links that you may find useful, especially if you are new to using this product.

image from Flickr user Lisa George pour Ultra-lab
image from Flickr user Lisa George pour Ultra-lab

 

littleBits now offers an Educator’s Guide.  It includes some of its older resources, but nicely bundles them into one document.  In addition to the Challenge Cards that I’ve posted about before, the Guide also includes specific curriculum references and justifies their use in the classroom.  This could be very helpful to those of you applying for grants.  I also like the “Reverse Engineering” suggestions on page 21, the “Example Lessons” on page 23, and the “Troubleshooting Tips” on page 25.

Another item that I noticed on the littleBits Educator Resources page is the “Project Booklets.” This PDF gives project suggestions based on the type of littleBits kits you have.  This way you will not challenge your students to a project that includes pieces you may not have.

Don’t forget that littleBits offers Educator Discounts, and that some of the kits can also be purchased from other vendors, such as Amazon.com.

For more information on littleBits, check out my previous post.  And, for more Makerspace resources in general, I have a “Make” Pinterest Board that might interest you.

 

Google Slides Templates (Updated)

This week, I’ve decided to reblog some of my more popular posts with some updates. Since I’ve posted this piece on Google Slides Templates, I’ve found some other resources to add to the list.  You will find most of the updates at the bottom of this post.

Now that our campus has a set of Chromebooks, my students have been delighting in exploring Google Drive.  One tool that has been an asset is the Presentation tool also known as Slides.  Similar to Powerpoint, the Google version has a few advantages in our environment: automatic saving (extremely helpful when the network isn’t always reliable), the rockin’ Research Tool, and the ability to use Google image search within the presentation. Even more importantly, a shared presentation invites collaboration.  I’ve enjoyed having the students work on slides in the same show simultaneously, such as the metaphor presentation I’ve embedded below. (UPDATE: Alice Keeler has a great post on how students can submit work on a collaborative Google Slide Presentation.)

There aren’t a whole lot of themes available in Slides.  But a growing number of templates are popping up online.  You can start with Google, itself, for public presentation templates that are free to download. Another fun resource, though somewhat limited right now, is Slides Carnival.

One of my favorite templates that I’ve run across recently comes from the DavidLeeEdTech blog.  This virtual museum template is so cool!  Scroll down to the comments section on his blog to get the direct link for downloading the template.

from David Lee's Virtual Museum Slides Template
from David Lee’s Virtual Museum Slides Template

Another option is to download a Powerpoint template that you like, and then to import the slides into your Google Drive presentation.

To download most templates, you will need to be signed in to your Google Drive. If the link provided for a template does not give you a direct copy, then you may have a “View Only” version, and will need to make a copy yourself. When applicable, always leave the proper source citations for the template on the slide show, but do whatever other editing you would like once you make a copy.

Tired of the limited fonts available for your Slides Presentation? Check out these instructions for adding more.

And, if you are feeling very enterprising and graphic-designy and would like to make your own template, Alice Keeler has step-by-step instructions for doing just that.

UPDATED 6/22/15:  More Google Slides Templates Resources

A Tribute to Maker Dads Everywhere

In honor of the National Week of Making and the upcoming Fathers’ Day celebration here in the States, I collected a few videos related to Maker Dads for this week’s Phun Phriday post.

Check out this link to a video showing Dads who got together to make a “Wipeout” course for their kids on their street.

Dads Make Kids Wipeout Course

I just discovered this adorable series of videos from DIY Dad.  You can click on this link to learn how to make fake snow with your kids.

DIY Dad

And be sure to show all of the great Maker Dads in your life this great video from Wonder Workshop!

Wonder Workshop Father's Day

Legos are Awesome

There. I said it.  I never thought I would.  Growing up, I had ZERO interest in Legos.

As an adult, I’ve continued to have ZERO interest in Legos.

Until a couple of years ago.

It turns out that Legos are a lot more versatile than I thought.

I briefly related my newfound respect for Legos in one of the posts I did for my Maker Space Essential Series.  If you do a search on my blog, you will find plenty of other posts related to Legos.

Since this is the National Week of Making in the United States, I thought I would curate a few more resources for you that offer opportunities to use Legos for more than just following the instructions in the box.

Make Magazine has an online page of Lego Ideas, which includes how to make a Lego puzzle.

The Lego Quest blog has 52 Lego challenges on it, one of which was to use Legos to represent a favorite song.

image from Lego Quest
Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” – image from Lego Quest

Finally, here are 25 Lego Learning Activities, which include making a balloon powered Lego car.

Don’t have your own Legos?  Well, you might have great success, as I did, just asking for donations.  Or, you could always make your own, like this student did on his home 3D printer to make a gift for me. (He made the green ones.)

3d Printed Legos

Yep. I used to think the only way Legos could make me cry would be to embed themselves in the bottom of my bare feet at inopportune moments.

Now they make a different kind of impression on me.

“Make” a Father’s Day Card That Lights Up His Day

As this is a “National Week of Making” in the U.S., it seems only appropriate that makers around the country should spend some time on making cool gifts and cards for Fathers’ Day on June 21st.

I saw a tweet earlier today from @Makerspaces_com that shared a link to this Instructables page with gift ideas.  As not all of the projects are appropriate for elementary-aged kids, I  sought out something that would be a bit less labor intensive than building your own barbecue barrel.

I saw these instructions for a Light Up LED Card, which reminded me of the ones our Maker Club did in May.  I didn’t get a chance on that post to show some of the variations that the students did after learning the basics of the “Everything is Awesome” card.  Here are a couple of student originated versions:

Clown Circuit Fathers Day Card Minecraft Fathers Day Card

Hopefully the students remembered to keep the circuits open so their batteries don’t run out before Fathers’ Day!

You can find more fun projects and resources for any time of the year here.

#NationOfMakers

According to the White House, the United States is celebrating a “National Week of Making” from 6/12-6/18 this year.  A National Maker Faire was held in Washington, D.C., on the 12th and 13th, and people all of the country are sharing ideas with the #nationofmakers hashtag.  You can go to this link to get ideas on ways to engage in making.

As many of you know, I am a huge proponent of the “maker movement” – especially within our schools.  It’s good to see it getting this kind of attention for the 2nd year in a row.

For a list of makers who participated in the National Maker Faire, check out this page.  You will see new ideas and new people that you might want to reach out to for “maker” advice.

If you would like some more resources, I have a Pinterest Board full of ideas and links to great websites for Makers!

image from
image from Go Make video on A Nation of Makers