At Lighthouse Community Public Schools, we work with teachers to give students more opportunities to make and tinker. Like our students, we are constantly trying new things and learning as we go.
We want maker education to change education. We want to turn learning over to kids.” —Aaron Vanderwerff, Creativity Lab Director
Integrating making into the classroom is the core focus of our program. We have built the transcontinental railroad when studying westward expansion, used circuit blocks to investigate electricity, and written programs to learn about Cartesian coordinates. We integrate making into content instruction when it supports student to understand at a deeper level.
The program director serves as a curriculum coach, collaborating with teachers to integrate design, making, and an inquiry stance into their practice.
We currently offer the following electives at Lighthouse:
Middle School Making The making class for middle school includes a variety of projects: cardboard-chair design challenge, light-up cards, electronic take-apart, 3D printing…. All these touch on different cross-curricular subjects such as math, engineering, physics, science and art. The elective course ends with a final personal project for each student.
Middle School Programming In the programming course students learn about coding and programming from open source resources. They engage with electronic components like Hummingbird, Makey Makey and Chibitroncis to create projects like cardboard robots, paper circuits, linkages, online videogames.
High School Programming In high school the students learn about programming, app development, paper circuits, stopmotion, circuit playground.
High School Robotics In robotics, students start the year with a set of parts and work together to build and program robots to solve challenges. For example, students program robots to follow a black line as a way of learning to use if-then statements. In the second half of the year, students use what they learn to compete in the Botball competition.
High School Making The making class starts with skill-builders: a chair, a pillow, a soldering kit, and an introduction to Arduino. In December, students decide on a project they will spend five months creating in order to showcase at the Maker Faire.
K–8 Creativity Lab Students engage in projects that expose them to new areas of interest. Our K-4 students engage in weekly classes that give them a chance to design and build projects in a variety of media. Middle school students are given the autonomy to explore areas they are excited to learn about.
High School Creativity Lab After school, our high school space becomes a drop-in makerspace. Students use the space to work on projects their teachers have assigned, create teacher commissioned projects, and explore their own passions.
At Lodestar, students participate in making activities throughout the school day:
Learning Lab Students lead their own learning in this space, and they are able to participate in a pop-up makerspace or work on independent, student-driven projects that they can grab and try, such as circuit blocks and scribble bots.
Making, Art, & Design Students meet with Making, Art, & Design teachers at least 80 minutes a week to construct tangible projects that focus on specific materials per quarter, like woodworking or sewing, or integrate with Expedition projects. In the past year, students have created working aquaponics systems, picture frames, and participated in the design process to create “speed forms”.