“Maker” Connections…

Finding creative ways to expand curriculum is always foremost on my mind as an educator, teacher, and “maker” media specialist. Recently, while going through my files I found a great connection for extending our yearly celebration of Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead. Last year our art teacher used our “closed” media center to display the offering table and classes were scheduled to come in to view it. This year the media center is open and the art teacher has a new display area. So when I approached her with my idea, she was immediately willing to add this “maker” feature into the student’s artwork.
I found the idea on makerspaces.com/paper-circuits. By creating a light -up paper circuit the eyes of the sugar skulls would be able to actually light up and give the artwork a totally different appearance than just a colored skull. We decided to use the projects of the fourth grade students to do this and I used part of their library check out time to do a mini lesson on circuits. I have a LED Puppet that I had purchased from adafruit named Gus the Green Led to demonstrate the positive and negative charges.

We also purchased the Paper Circuit Starter Kit from Makerspaces.com for the cooper tape, LED’s and CR2032 batteries. The students were very excited to learn the simple circuit basis and soon their colorful sugar skullls actually came to “life”. Here are some of the finished projects.

Here is the finished display – the offering table with photos, candles, sugar skulls, and special items in memory of the loved ones. The celebration also included tasting the delicious Pan do los Muertos, a sweet bread made especially for the holiday.

Another “maker” connection occurred when the MD/Upper division media specialist and myself collaborated about 3D book posters involving books that the 7th grade students were creating in the maker space. We decided to invite students in third and fourth grade to visit the display in the MD/Upper division library. They would bring their ipads, headphones, and a writing tool with them for their visit. Each poster was displayed along with the actual book and it had a QR code for the students to listen to. After viewing all the projects, students used 2 different post-it-notes which were provided to write down their favorite 3D element and which book would they want to read after looking at the posters. Their answers were to be placed on the appropriate parking lot posters. Here are some of the designs:

This was a very beneficial project for all the students since it definitely supported our literacy program while giving feedback to the middle school students. Our hope is that the lower division students will share a similar project with the middle division student in the future and continue this “maker” connection.

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