A few weeks ago, our 1st grade teachers ask me to plan a 1st Grade Maker Fair. They wanted a day dedicated to student making! This would be a trial run for the new MakerSpace tools I have been gathering in the media center. It would also give teachers an idea of how it would look if they began to integrate maker opportunities more frequently into their year of academics! I need to give a huge shout out to our 1st grade teachers who are always challenging their students and themselves!
So what were the goals of our Maker Fair? We wanted students to have an opportunity to try multiple maker tools. We wanted students to collaborate with each other to build, design, engineer and code. We wanted our students to figure things out for themselves, so for the most part we gave them tools and let them go! (Except Ozobots & Robot Mouse which did require some explanation before students began!) We did suggest challenges to make sure each maker activity provided deeper thinking for our students.
We learned some things along the way.
1. Maker Fairs, like MakerSpaces, require lots of space!
2. We need more of certain maker tools. We need more Gears, which turned out to be a great engineering tool!
3. We provided 25 minutes for each maker tool...not nearly enough time for students!
4. Finally, we learned what may seem obvious, first graders (and teachers) began to wear out after their first few maker challenges. This is another reason that maker activities should be an ongoing challenge for students rather than a one day marathon.
Despite our lessons learned, it was a huge success! Students were engaged and seemed to be having a blast! For me the greatest take away is that maker opportunities give our students the much needed chance to problem solve things for themselves. It was a blast to listen in on their conversations as they reasoned through their challenges! I can't wait to do it again!