Robots, smart homes, magnetic slime and more! Invent the future today in Camp Invention’s new program, Fast Forward! We’re lucky enough to be hosting the program at Nissitissit Middle School during the week of June 25- June 29 for students entering grades K-6. Sign up by visiting www.campinvention.org or calling 800.968.4332.
The Merrimack River served as a living laboratory for the study of ecosystems and earth science for our 5th grade students this week! Our students traveled by boat on the Merrimack to explore how natural and human forces are changing the Merrimack’s Watershed. Students collected water samples, performed water quality tests, and analyzed their data to determine the quality of the water. They also built and tested water filters to assess their ability to clean polluted water and used models to explore how the world’s water is distributed. A great learning experience for all!
3M grant gives Makerspace goodies to Nissitissit Middle School
By Anne O’Connor
PEPPERELL — Middle school students will be going even more high-tech in a hands-on classroom where they can make things that work.
A $2,500 grant from 3M will enable the school to purchase screens for the Raspberry Pi teaching computers it already owns. They are set up in the school’s makerspace.
“It will give each kid a workstation,” said Evan Worth, technology and makerspace teacher at Nissitissit Middle School.
The innovative classroom comes at little cost to the district. “The whole thing is really grant funded,” he said.
“I’m lucky that we have some parents from 3M,” Worth said. “They kind of tipped me off about it.”
In the classes, which meet, once a week, students might make an electric circuit using tinfoil and batteries or print something on a 3D printer.
“All over the spectrum of STEM,” he said.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education sets standards for science, technology, engineering and math in the curriculum.
Students learn the basics of programming and making their own robots, Worth said.
“They love it,” he said.
Makerspace learning has been compared to technical classes from an earlier era, he said. Instead of cutting wood and designing shelves, kids use computers and other new technology.
The learning style can engage students who are not strong in traditional subjects.
Teaching in a non-traditional classroom is a lot more work than teaching the standard curriculum.
“I’m making this, the whole curriculum, up,” Worth said.
The district is considering a new curriculum from a Massachusetts company, FableVision, which uses project-based learning.
“I think that will be good,” he said.
Using the makerspace as part of a project-based learning might mean something like an English teacher using the lab so students can use paper-cutters to tell a story.
Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.