Where the Garage Meets the Classroom
As Frank R. Wilson so beautifully put it in his preface to The Art of Critical Making, “objects brought to life by a maker… will not only foster confidence and vitality but also sharpen personal identity and add meaning to the experience of consciousness.”
Making things, problem solving and learning-by-doing have been at the heart of Unquowa since our school’s inception in 1917. Our school’s 1500 sq ft makerspace provides us with bigger and better space for activities that involve making, un-making, tinkering and designing. It is the place where the garage meets the classroom, and offers students a chance to bring their ideas to life using materials ranging from wood, metal and fabric to robotic components and 3-D printing.
Posted by Karen Engelke
As part of our unit on natural resources, 2nd grade worked with Mr. Ross-MacCormack in the makerspace to build shelters. We spent some time in the classroom identifying the natural resources found in our furniture and homes. We then went to the makerspace where we built bricks out of quick drying clay. Once we made a large bounty of bricks we got to work on building some kind of shelter or community building. We created mortar out of glue and sand and used bark, straw and sticks for roofing. Some of us chose to made a school, museum or cafe. It involved lots of creativity and teamwork from all parties involved.
Posted by George Seferidis
The Marshmallow Challenge is our introduction to the design process, laying the groundwork for a future humanities design project. This timed challenge requires small groups to work together to create the tallest, freestanding structure capable of holding a marshmallow on top, using the frailest of materials – 20 pieces of spaghetti, a yard of tape, and yarn.
Groups who were successful did not wait until the last minute to put their marshmallow on the top; rather they endeavored early on to create a working prototype before working through several iterations of design. The concept of iterative design will be essential in their next redesign task. Students are encouraged to integrate form and function in their design thinking to bridge learning in our humanities curriculum.
Posted by Carlene Gordon
Our third graders are busy learning both the concept of multiplication as well as basic facts. Students can more readily develop an understanding of multiplication concepts if they see visual representations of the computation process. Therefore, we recently took to our makerspace to allow our students the opportunity to create multiplication arrays as a visual, concrete representation of multiplication. An array is formed by arranging a set of objects into rows and columns. Each column must contain the same number of objects as the other columns, and each row must have the same number as the other rows. That being said, and as our students demonstrated, an array can be created from most any object. Afterwards, students identified arrays all around us…egg cartons, window panes, classroom cubbies, brick wall, floor/ceiling tiles and much more to identify multiplication in our daily environment.
Posted by Craig Knebel
The sixth grade class has been studying plate tectonics and subduction, where one heavy plate slides under another. The plates often grind and bump into each other, causing earthquakes when the pressure finally is released. The students went to the makerspace and came up with different methods of creating the earthquake that generated Harbor Waves in this fun modelling project.
Posted by Faith Barbuto
For the past few months, the kindergarten class has been creating their own gratitude boxes down in the makerspace. These boxes, which were completely their own designs, are meant to house objects or memorabilia that evoke a feeling of happiness. Possible items could be photographs, ticket stubs, or even a rock from a special place. As a class we discussed how sometimes we forget all the things we have to be thankful for. The boxes are to be used to help us remember those things and to cheer ourselves up when we are feeling down! For weeks students measured, hammered and glued to create their own idea of a gratitude box. As a finishing touch, each student chose a word or phrase that embodied personal gratitude and Mr. Ross-MacCormack etched it onto each box.
Posted by Kate Haviland
Winterfest is in the air and the entire Unquowa community is buzzing with excitement! While the students and faculty are hard at work on the production, our parents are busy creating the costumes that help bring the whole show to life! Led this year by our costume designer Missy Howe, mother of two young Unquowans, our parents are working together in the Greenberg Gator Garage to sew, cut and assemble an amazing collection for our young performers. While we watch our students come together to create an incredible show, it is heartwarming to see that the magic of Winterfest is contagious and spills over to our entire community. See you all on the 15th!