Corbett Prep Maker’s Mondays Exercise Imaginations
in Upper Primary
After attending Maker Faire in New York, Corbett Prep teachers introduced “Maker’s Monday” to inspire and engage students in learning by doing.
Dec. 3, 2015 (TAMPA, Fla.) – Balance a tower of plastic cups on a small wooden cube. Construct a hideaway with a partner using only silent communication. Build a structure of small blocks, panels and rods that reaches at least 18 inches high without toppling.
Imagination and engineering align when Maker’s Monday comes around to Upper Primary classes.
Students in first and second grade at Corbett Preparatory School of IDS are trying their hands at becoming “makers” — do-ers, problem-solvers and creative thinkers — as they tackle various challenges their teachers prepare for them each week.
Working independently or in multiage pairs and teams, the students use simple materials to complete a task. At first, they may have limited information as they implement their own ideas and learn through trial and error. Later, teachers may provide more guidance, share examples or encourage students to walk around the room and learn from others. When they have finished, the students reflect on the challenges and successes and what they could do differently.
Vickii Johnson and Andria Petty, teachers in the “Mighty Monkey” classes, introduced Maker’s Monday to Upper Primary after attending Maker Faire in New York this fall, part of Corbett Prep’s commitment to professional development. The festival showcases inventions, creations and experimentation from people in diverse fields. Scientists, computer programmers and engineers can be makers, but so can artists, performers, crafters and hobbyists.
The World Maker Faire in New York, one of the flagship maker-events in the United States, took place at the New York Hall of Science and brought together the largest gathering of makers on the East Coast. Displays, performances, demonstrations and speakers reflected the diversity of what the maker community creates. IBM, Google, NASA and Microsoft also attended, looking for problem-solvers of the future.
The maker movement in schools celebrates student engagement and “learning by doing.” Authors Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager refer to it as “active classrooms” in their book Invent to Learn. “In active classrooms one will find engaged students, often working on multiple projects simultaneously, and teachers unafraid of relinquishing their authoritarian role,” they write. “The best way to activate your classroom is for your classroom to make something.”
At tables, desks and on the floors on Mondays, Corbett Prep Upper Primary students are busy brainstorming and building as they embrace their roles as the next generation of makers. First grader Noah says he looks forward to the challenges. His favorite part: “Getting to make different creations.”