How can design thinking help me to create an inclusive makerspace in my classroom?

Thinking about an inclusive classroom means all students are included, regardless of ability or gender. Often people (and students) are categorized by ability and gender and are judged right off the bat. According to Invent to Learn by Martinez, it is human nature to size up a room and get a feeling if one belongs or not. Our students have the same feeling when they enter a classroom. All must feel included and able to complete something in the classroom in order to contribute their learning in some way.

Makerspaces are a great way to include all students! Having students working with their hands and creating masterpieces will give all students a sense of belongingness and a sense of accomplishment. This is also done with the aid of the facilitator, the teacher, to help students understand all have the ability to complete something, some may have to problem solve more than others but that is what makerspace is all about, tinkering!

Temple Grandin was a guest speaker on SUNY Oneonta’s campus which I was able to view digitally through Youtube, “Calling All Minds with Temple Grandin”. She gave great advice and information toward including all students, including those who have a categorized disability. She spoke from experience and the first major point that stuck out to me was that long strands of information is not beneficial to students. This is included in hands on activities, those that would be included in a makerspace. Giving directions in small segments is best for all students. Furthermore, she mentioned the importance of giving students choices. When students feel in control of their learning they are more engaged in the lesson and content. She also brought up how NASA has many employees that are on the spectrum and do miraculous things! And she connected this to learning through tinkering. This is required in order to make something work- problem solving at its best! Lasting, she brought up how classes, such as cooking classes fosters creativity and problem solving. We need to keep these classes in schools to help students develop these skills, which is why tinkering is important in culinary classes for all students!

Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (2019). Learning. In C. Sinclair (Ed.), Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Youtube: Calling All Minds with Temple Grandin

Budget for Makerspace: Food Science Edition

Class: Food Science, Level  3, Total Students: 14 

Squishy Circuits: Properties of Ingredients 

ItemsUse Cost/ UnitTotal CostSource/ Store
First Aid KitSafety$16.82$16.82
50 pcs 10mm White LED Diode LightsSquishy Circuits- light$7.40 $7.40
AmazonBasics AA 1.5 Volt Performance Alkaline Batteries – Pack of 100Squishy Circuits- power$23.99$23.99
Battery HolderSquishy Circuits- power holder$7.50$105.00
Dough Ingredients:
(water)FlourVeg oilCream of tartarSaltGranulated alumsugar
Squishy circuits- dough$0$0Culinary dept budget

Needed Total: $153.21

I would seek funding for all options through two different grants. One local grant which is my schools grant offered for all teachers to apply for supplies in class. Second location I would go to for funding would be the Perkins grant. I am very familiar with Perkins as the CTE department gets a lot of supplies, resources and funding for career and industry related materials. This would fit in with the food science class, therefore these items could be considered materials for the class itself.

What types of circuits could I use and how might they enhance student learning in my content area.

I love this week’s topic as it really has me thinking outside of the box for connections of circuits and culinary. There are a lot more relatable experiences than I would have even imagined. I really enjoyed viewing the TedTalk with Annmarie Thomas as she described the simple ways to use dough to conduct electricity. Instantly, I thought how awesome would this be for a food science class, which I currently teach! Preparing homemade dough with different products would lead to a great discussion into understanding the properties of ingredients and their role in cooking, through circuit work and squishy circuits. This is a must to try out! 

Coin battery operated LED lights are another great way to pull circuit work into the classroom or use in an afterschool program. I like the example provided to create an origami balloon mood light- I think this would fit perfectly with my after school club called Life Hacks which focuses on DIY projects, information students need to know when they graduate and other real-world experiences to help them figure out what they enjoy and are good at! 

Furthermore, another way to incorporate circuits is through throwies! This is something that can be done inexpensively with a battery, tape, magnet and LED light, making each one around $1 in price. I had not heard about these until now, and I want to get involved in the throwie movement in NYC! I think it is a creative way to decorate the community.

How have teachers used Chibitronics in the classroom?

“Chibitronics is a paper electronics toolkit made up of sticker-based modules for building circuits [19]. These modules are a flat, flexible and paper-friendly alternative to standard electronic components. The kit includes LEDs, sensors and a programmable microcontroller that can be connected with copper tape. (Qi)”

Chibitronics is being used in all grade levels and can be used for any subject area, even culinary! When we think about an enhancement to learning we first must think about how to effectively implement the new tool and how it will apply to the lesson you want students to learn. I find chibitronics to be very user-friendly compared to other technical kits which makes it easy for students to catch on. They are able to make their pages come to life! Teachers can now have students create 3D items and add lights on to learn about circuits and negative and positive reactions. 

Some teachers may be reluctant to use this as they may see it as a distraction, but it should be looked at engagement. If you give students markers glue and scissors they can be just as distracted so why not teach students about something new that could spark their interest, and teach them problem-solving skills. Chibitronics lets students get more creative than ever through science projects to teach nerve transmission, math problems to learn angles, and English storyboards. Interactive flashcards are another great way to engage students in their learning.

The possibilities are endless with the idea of chinitronics. Educators can not be fearful of using things like this in the classroom- students will love it! Trying new things will teach students more than just the content desired! 

Lindberg, E. (2017). Light-Up Neuron. BrainFacts/SfN.

Qi, J. (2018). Chibitronics in the Wild: Engaging New Communities in Creating Technology with Paper Electronics.