I’ve got a new DonorsChoose project (code SPARK til 3-25 for match!) up right now, and I’m pretty excited about it. PWC has had a match offer recently for projects that teach financial literacy to students. I thought about it for awhile and looked through other projects receiving the match to get ideas. I also took some time to look through PWC’s middle school financial literacy curriculum to get some inspiration. And then it clicked – part of financial literacy is learning about careers, and one aspect of many Makerspaces is entrepreneurship – these make a perfect pair.
I was inspired by a project that Jaymes Dec told me about when I visited the Marymount Fab Lab in New York City. He challenged his students to create a project that made their school a better place. Some of the projects his students came up with included a device that would play music anytime someone entered the elevator. Another was a “flatterbox” that would deliver compliments when it sense someone swiping their card to enter the building.
My project combines several factors: the desire young people have to make a difference in the world, makerspaces as hubs for entrepreneurship, and learning how to create digital portfolios and documentation of projects.
Here’s what the project will entail:
We’ll be getting an assortment of books geared towards students on changing the world, making a difference, and becoming an entrepreneur. I’ll be focusing this project on my afterschool STEAM club at first, although these materials will be available to all students afterwards. We’ll meet and talk about what it means to become an entrepreneur, how it’s possible for young people to make a difference, and how to create a digital portfolio of their creations that they could potentially use later for job applications, patent applications, etc.
My students will be splitting into four groups, and each group will get an Arduino. We’ll also be getting several books on programming Arduinos to help them learn how to use them. Their challenge will be to find a way to invent something that can make our school a better place. They’ll be able to use other Makerspace materials in their projects as well if they want (littleBits, MaKeyMaKey, Cubelets, etc)
As the groups come up with their inventions, they’ll be documenting the process using the iPads. They’ll be taking pictures and videos. They’ll be researching ideas on the iPads. They’ll be app smashing to combine their documentation into a digital portfolio. At the end of the challenge, they’ll present their projects and the portfolios to parents and students at our Mini MakerFaire event.
If you’d like to donate and help out my students, I’d be super appreciative. I have a great group of students this year, and I’m excited for them to have their experience and discover that their creations can have an impact beyond the classroom. Here’s the link, and if you use the code SPARK by 3-25, you donation will be matched. Thank you :)