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.
Maker VISTA Cissy Monroe has been working with several teachers at Lighthouse Community Charter School to create a comprehensive guide and lesson plan for integrating circuit blocks into units on electricity. She also helped plan, and co-led a professional development session for LCCS teachers at the end of January. The session used a thinking routine from Agency by Design to explore a system — in this case, the Black Lives Matter movement, and through that, the broader systems of racial discrimination and criminal justice. Between this PD and several other teacher collaborations, Cissy is supporting over 20 LCCS teachers as they bring making and thinking routines into their classrooms. Maker VISTA Tobie Irvine received word that his Agency by Design Empowerment Grant Proposal was accepted. The $10,000 award will be used by the Creativity Lab to supply teachers with making kits, and to fund the development of a new maker space for the middle school. Tobie has also been working on updating the Creativity Lab website in regard to both content and aesthetics.
The month of January has been very busy for Art 120! They have announced their spring and summer classes for 2016, the advertisement of which has been designed by Maker VISTA member, Philip Stetson. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service event was a huge success as well, with Art 120 reaching about 50 kids from the Highland Park Boys & Girls Club in Chattanooga. Art 120 also continued their partnership with the Howard School, welcoming five kids, three days a week to come into the Southside Maker Arts Center (SMAC) and work on projects, learn new skills, and obtain academic credit that otherwise would not be available.
In January, Maker VISTA Kira Watson teamed up with Maker VISTA Matt Moor from San Fernando Middle School, to carry out two incredible Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service events. First, Matt and Kira adopted Lighthouse Community Charter School’s Creativity Lab’s, Paper Circuit project guide in order to host a making activity for middle school students at the Los Angeles Challengers Boys & Girls Club for the MLK Day of service on Friday, January 15th. The event was a huge success and gave students an opportunity to learn Physics and Circuitry concepts via Maker Education. On Monday, January 18th, Matt and Kira joined local VISTA teammates to host an MLK Jr. Day of Service event with Thomas Edison Middle School in south Los Angeles. This event attracted 400+ guests and volunteers from the surrounding community, who pitched in to clean and rejuvenate the Edison campus. January was all about service and stamping out poverty!
To jump start 2016, Maker VISTA Matt Moor had the opportunity to lead the grade level assemblies and talk about his role as a Maker VISTA and what making could look like at San Fernando Middle School. He learned that students want to see more gaming, coding, and circuitry in classrooms. With making fresh in the student’s minds, Matt piloted a three day lunchtime making in the campus library with support from instructional coach Toutoule Ntoya. One of the activities was a paper circuitry exploration from Maker VISTA alum David Perlis. In addition, the SFMS library now displays pictures created during the lunchtime making. Due to the pilot’s success, Matt has been working closely with Mr. Boone, the school librarian, to create more making activities in the future. As Maker Education permeates the SFMS campus, Matt’s role is expanding to facilitate integration within teacher curriculum.
Starting out the New Year, Charlotte Lab Maker VISTA members Brittany and Colby are proud to announce that a new member has joined their team, Dave Hartzell. He is now teaching Maker Lab and will bring new adventures to Charlotte Lab students such as his experience with cardboard challenges! In addition, the Maker VISTA members assisted with integrating their biggest project yet: working with fourth grade classes to create a sound-absorbing wall from 800+ toilet paper rolls. Students discovered the absorption capability of toilet paper, which made the room quieter and improved acoustics. Lastly, Brittany and Colby have co-founded an after-school program called, Making After Hours for 3rd and 4th graders. Some of the students projects have included scribble bots, bug-bots, rockets and had an opportunity to forge nails into mini swords!
In January, VISTA member Erik Pirmann designed and built a class set of circuit blocks. These blocks will serve as a hands-on learning tool used to teach students concepts of electricity in a cost-effective manner without sacrificing quality. They will serve as a permanent fixture of La Makerspace and will be utilized long after Erik’s term. Erik also led the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project which shared Maker Education with youth of the Alameda Boys and Girls Club. Youth explored the basics of engineering and material science by designing and building paper roller coasters.
January has been a busy month at the Ravenswood Makerspace Collaborative! Maker VISTA members Montana and Victor were introduced to a new team of tinkerers who are now staffing four of the Makerspaces: Christopher Auger-Dominguez at Los Robles, Jonathan Bryant at Belle Haven, Ben McGee at Ronald McNair, and Rob Taylor at Cesar Chavez. Montana and Victor have been orienting and training the team as they get their first experiences opening Makerspaces. They all worked together to unpack and distribute new tools and equipment received from a Google grant: U-Line shelving and storage bins, furniture from Ikea, CNC milling machines from Othermill, circuitry sets, and more. The Makerspace classrooms are beginning to reflect the personalities of the Tinkerers who work in them. As Makerspace hours are extended to meet community needs, volunteer support and additional curriculum plans will be in the pipeline.