Faculty and staff at Missituk Elementary School in Medford recently experimented with maker education during a professional development workshop facilitated by Acera Education Innovation (AceraEI). The goal is to bring hands-on, creative, and STEM-infused curriculum to Medford students. Watch the video below to see Missituk teachers design, make, and iterate.
In the workshop, nearly 80 Missituk teachers wove together technology, engineering, circuitry, coding and art to make critter bots, art bots, light-up story cubes, and more. At the end of the workshop, the teachers displayed their creations in a gallery walk, and discussed how they can incorporate these hands-on activities into their existing curriculum.
Maker education is the concept of using hands-on activities to support learning. For example, in critterbots activity, teachers designed a small robotic creature from pipe cleaners and colorful cotton balls, and then experimented with a flat vibration motor, coin cell batteries and a battery holder with an on/off switch to build a simple circuit. With elementary students, this activity serves as a pathway for introducing creative thinking, in which they can explore electromechanics, interactions between electrical and mechanical devices, and feel confident about building robots with simple electronics and craft materials.
“Seeing the teacher’s creations, the story cubes, the art bots, and the integration of art, science and technology is wonderful. It’s engineering, it’s design, it’s math and science,” said Dr. Marice Edouard-Vincent, Superintendent of Medford Public Schools. “This is what our students need. This is the next level of learning and interaction and creativity.”
Acera’s approach to maker space education merges STEM concepts like chemistry, circuitry, and programming with arts and crafts activities. A hallmark is its use of low-cost tools and materials to help students bring their ideas to life through creative making and design, something that appeals to budget-conscious school districts. Featuring curricula like Enchanted Electronics, Choreography of Matter, and Designing for Health, Acera’s Maker Education units are being implemented as a professional development series at several schools across Greater Boston.
“I want to thank AceraEI for continuing to partner with Medford Public Schools to bring science and innovation in a truly practical creative way,” said Dr. Edouard-Vincent. “I’m excited about this, and look forward to doing of more of this in the next school year.”