What’s Happening, February 2016

Welcome back to our ongoing series highlighting “What’s Happening” at our Maker VISTA sites. Each blog will quickly introduce what our subsites have been up to during the past month, and include a link for more information.

Maker VISTA is dedicated to eradicating poverty and supports Maker Ed’s mission to create more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in science, technology, engineering, math, art, and learning as a whole through making. Members develop the capacity of subsites by building infrastructure, expanding partnerships, securing resources, organizing maker education training, and linking communities to the maker movement.

To learn more about the Maker VISTA Project, click here.

To learn more our Maker VISTA Members, click here.


Art120Logo - Square February found Maker VISTA Philip Stetson continuing his efforts in advertising Art 120’s Spring and Summer classes.  Additionally, Art 120  partnered with the Chattanooga Public Library to make a brand new Art Car, called Space Oddity! It will be a David Bowie-inspired Art Car, with a Howard School student taking the lead on design.  The Art Car project is especially near and dear to Philip’s heart as the car being used was once owned by him!  Needless to say, Philip is looking forward to tearing the vehicle apart and supporting the efforts to create something brand new.


sfmsFalcon Maker VISTA member, Matt Moor completed his third maker project with one of the 6th grade science classes. With support from Toutoule Ntoya,  the LAEP Science Instructional Coach, the duo challenged the students to think about erosion and its effect on cities, homes, and roads.  The students then created machines or structures out of cardboard, which addressed erosion prevention.  Toutoule shared his experience of introducing this project to the students, and allowing them to explore making via their own creativity and curiosity, here.  Another of Matt’s goals in the month of February, has been to collaborate and strengthen connections with teachers and school staff by completing maker projects such as the one mentioned above. Additionally, he teamed up with the San Fernando Middle School librarian, Daniel Boone, to plan and continue their monthly, lunchtime making in the library challenges which will continue in March.  Another endeavor for Matt was to revamp the school garden to include Maker Education, so he reached out to Clean L.A. who donated two 4×8 planter beds, gardening tools, and composts. Clean L.A is devoted in helping residents, businesses, and government in keeping Los Angeles County clean and sustainable.  To further support the garden, and promote his Falcons Go Green campaign, Matt secured a $200 Roots and Shoots Mini-Grant, which will allow the student’s opportunity to explore and address water conservation.



Mustang logoFebruary was an eventful month for Bethune Middle School. Maker VISTA member Kira Watson, helped Bethune celebrate Black History Month by helping to design the school’s main display case, showcasing the accomplishments of two African Americans who made significant strides in STEM:  Astrophysicist, Dr. Neal deGrasse Tyson and NASA Mathematician, Katherine Johnson.  She also shared the NASA African American Astronauts (AKA Afronauts) fact sheet provided by NASA.  During lunch and nutrition, students who visited the Maker Studio were encouraged to engage in Black History trivia.  Lather in the month, Bethune’s 7th grade science students participated in squid dissections hosted by our partners at the Manhattan Beach, Roundhouse Aquarium which was funded through an educational grant opportunity secured by Jennifer Reid.  The activity focused primarily on the squid anatomy and physiology and enabled students to draw connections between the squid’s unique design, making it fit for its environment.  Later in the month, an enthusiastic group of tea 65 teachers and students had a rare opportunity to participate in an educational field trip to the Pasadena NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), thanks to the coordination efforts of Kira.  


rmc cog logo During the month of February, the Ravenswood Makerspace Collaborative focused on equipment training and information organization. They had the pleasure of collaborating with Danny Beesly from Idea Builder Labs to design and build out features of their Makerspaces all over the district. Danny facilitated several Professional Development workshops, introducing the team to the new vinyl cutter, the CNC milling machine, and the laser cutter.  Maker VISTA Victor Aw further supported RMC by continuing his work with the graphical user interface (GUI), which helps not only with tracking the makerspace usage, but also creates ease of use for both students and staff.  The data obtained will be used in research to explore the relationship between makerspace usage and performance, attendance, and behavior in school.  Additional support also came from Ben Magee, Site Tinkerer for McNair Middle School, who took an industrial embroidery workshop at TechShop San Jose. The RMC team also attended Designing Making Experiences, a two-day workshop hosted by the Lighthouse Creativity Lab at Castilleja. Meanwhile, the VISTAs have been working hard to keep resources and ideas organized. Montana created an RMC Pinterest account for the team to share bookmarks with one another, and for students to browse for project ideas. Montana also created Ravenswood Makerspace’s first Instructable. This tool allows for project and curriculum sharing with the larger DIY community.


Maker VISTAs Brittany and Colby at Charlotte Lab School have been busy in February! The VISTA’s designed and helped implement a series of Making Math Units. These include building 2-D scale models of buildings, scaling up from a 2D garden to a 3D garden, and looking at Urban Development over time in the Charlotte area using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Colby and Brittany also designed and implemented a professional development making activity for the staff at Charlotte Lab School involving cola and Mentos. The teachers were then able to use cola and Mentos experiments during a 2nd grade science activity to teach students about the phases of matter. Both the Making Math Units and cola and Mentos professional development activities were designed to help engage the faculty in a making project that fits their content area.


Lighthouse Community Charter School In February, Maker VISTA Cissy Monroe began organizing the creation of mini-maker spaces for all of Lighthouse Community Charter School’s K-4 classrooms, as well as a portable sewing cart for in-class machine sewing projects.  Maker VISTA Tobie Irvine continued to work on updating the Creativity Lab website, including adding a Frequently Asked Questions section for educators new to making, and an About section to describe in more detail the history and mission of the Creativity Lab. Tobie also began grant research in order to acquire funds to update the Creativity Lab’s computers.  












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