Innovators Wanted!

One of my goals for the new year is to create as many opportunities as possible for my students to be curious, to be imaginative, to become planners, and collaborative  risk takers who create.  In other words, I want my students to become innovative!

“Shark Tank” Unit

Our  fifth grade team created a “Shark Tank” Unit which is perfect for creating the environment to make innovation happen in my classroom.  Students will research an invention that is valuable to their everyday life.  They will find out:

      1. Inventor
      2. Invention
      3. Problem invention solved
      4. The process from idea to production
      5. Timeline of dates – i.e.. Idea, patent, production, first sale, etc..
      6. Struggles/roadblocks inventor encountered
      7. Cost/Profit/Financial info

Then, the students will brainstorm an everyday problem they have and think of ways to solve the problem.  Students will present a variety of information:

      1. Invention name
      2. The problem it solves
      3. Share a visual/ graphic aide showing what it looks like
      4. A description of how it works
      5. Materials used/needed, “starting plan” on how it will be built/assembled
      6. Itemized cost of materials per unit/Total Cost to build/Selling price per unit/Profit CAN include marketing material (brochures, infomercial, packaging, etc…)

The presentations will be given “Shark Tank” style and a few students from each class will be chosen (invested in) to work with other students to build their invention.   Check back in March to see the completed inventions!

 

Innovation Club & Lab

Not only do I want to create this opportunity for my own students, but I want to create it  for other students at my school too.  I am hearing about more and more schools with “maker spaces” and was inspired and excited to get one started at my school too!  I was extremely fortunate to have our PTO provide the funds to purchase materials for an “Innovation Club & Lab” at my school 🙂  I will be sponsoring an after school club and the materials will be available for teachers to “check out” so they can use them in their own classroom.  There are so many materials out there, it was really hard to choose the best ones to meet the school’s needs.  I wanted to choose materials that would not only create an environment where students could be innovative, but were also teacher friendly, so  teachers would feel comfortable to use the materials too.

  1. Makey Makey Kits download 2
    Use the supplied circuit board, alligator clips and a computer to turn ANYTHING into a keyboard.  Beginners to advanced creators can have fun while typing a letter to creating an elaborate device.
  2. LittleBits           images 2
    Magnetic bits fit together to create a circuit.  Follow the directions to start a fan, turn on a light, or create your own invention.
  3. ozobot             download (1) 2
    A tiny robot that teaches robotics and programming.  Students can program using either a drawn color code or a more advanced block-based code.  This robot can play games, dance, and much more!
  4. Snap Circuits    download (2) 2
    Follow the color coded manual to snap together circuits to create a variety if electrical items SAFELY or create your own.
  5. JustStand V2       Screen_Shot_2013-09-06_at_10.57.28_PM 2
    This iPad stand can be for stop motion and video creation. Can also be used as a document camera – bonus 🙂

What I LOVE about all of these products is that they can be differentiated to meet the varying level of each student.  All students from K-H.S. can use these products and be challenged, the product grows with the student’s level of mastery, imagination and creativity.

My dream is to eventually have a full “Innovation Lab” at my school, one similar to Creative Learning Systems Smart Labs.    I know it will take time and I am confident it will be the norm in the future.  I will continue to take small steps until I get to where I believe we need to be in education.  If you are interested in taking steps with me, comment below and we can take the journey together!

Now that… Is Positively Techie!

Feature Image credit

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