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.
The Merrimack River Watershed – shaped by human and natural influences – served as a living laboratory for the study of ecosystems and earth science for our 5th grade students last week!
Our students traveled by boat in Lowell’s canals to explore how natural and human forces are changing the Merrimack Watershed. We collected water samples, performed tests, and analyzed data. Students 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. What a great learning experience. A big thank you to Mrs. Worth for organizing this trip!
The study of amphibians in science class was enhanced by perfect weather….namely, rain, drizzle, and cool temperatures.
Interested in helping young people in our community? Camp Invention is a week of fun that gets children excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Your donation will help provide this great opportunity to students in our community who have a financial hardship. Help foster innovation by donating or sharing this link with others.