Maker Ed is thrilled to welcome back Mamaroneck Union Free School District as a Maker Corps Host Site in 2015. For the third year of Maker Corps, Maker Ed will collaborate with more than forty organizations to host Maker Corps Members throughout the summer to bring maker activities and approaches to the communities that they serve.
Below is a glimpse into what Maker Corps will look like at Mamaroneck Union Free School District in 2015. Click here to learn more about becoming a Maker Corps Member at Mamaroneck Union Free School District.
Hommocks Middle School Co-Op Camp & Maker Corps: FROM STEM to STEAM
The Mamaroneck Union Free School District is in its third year as a Maker Corps Host Site. In 2014, our program was one of only four Maker Corps Host Sites that served youth through a public school summer program. This summer, our Maker Corps alumni will return as Maker Corps Members (MCMs) to teach at the Hommocks Middle School Summer Co-Op Camp. There, the MCMs will be working collaboratively with a veteran art teacher to add STEM learning, innovation and creative making elements to the campers’ daily art elective.
Hommocks Co-Op Camp serves 100 at-risk students from our school district including students with special needs. It is a unique opportunity for financially underprivileged, at-risk students as well as special needs students to have a summer experience that provides academic support. The Maker Corps program has transformed the camp art experience, inviting students to explore new materials with open-ended objectives. All who were involved in past years used words like “cutting-edge,” “challenging,” “just cool,” “satisfying,” “fun,” and “collaborative” to describe their experiences. The camp meets five days a week for six weeks which allows for in-depth projects that give both the students and the Maker Corps team ample opportunity to delve into projects, make adjustments and even go beyond original goals.
The Maker Corps activities are held in a large, well-equipped technology room at the middle school. Large tech tables, an adjoining computer lab and multiple 3-D printers provide a great foundation for the creating that takes place. But, it is the collaboration among the MCMs and the lead teacher, as well as the unexpected and inspiring suggestions from the kids that shape the learning in the room. Drawing on their individual strengths and personal interests, Maker Corps Members work as a team to develop engaging, hands-on art projects that also involve aspects of engineering, science (including computer programming), technology, design (including artistic and musical creations) and fabrication. Past projects have included learning computer programing through Scratch, learning about 3-D printing using Tinker-Cad. Students have experimented with motors and circuits and created unique ArtBots. In addition, collaborative initiatives have been introduced such as an on-going “Utopia” construction as well as a large scale replica of the Mamaroneck/Larchmont community. Through collaboration with Westchester Children’s Museum (WCM), the community project was exhibited for several weeks at the WCM location in Rye, NY.
For many students, access to this software, tech materials and equipment is completely new. While some rely on direct instruction to make progress, others intuitively take over the work and lead the way for themselves. In this way, the lines between teacher and student can become blurry as students become leaders around certain topics. The MCMs are vital in this work as they offer not just their specific skills and passions, but also because they model the idea that “try, do, test, re-do, take a chance, try again and laugh aloud” is always more fulfilling when accomplished through teamwork.
To read the blog written by our Hommocks Maker Corps 2014 group: click here.