Toy Making: Part 2

(This post is Part 2 in a series. Part 1.) From making their balancing crayfish, students learned that adding weight to an object makes it more stable, particularly when the weight is distributed more towards the bottom than the top. Having learned this, they moved on to making tops. Building a Top Students began by trying…

Toy Making: Part 1

For several weeks, our first graders have been exploring concepts like “balance” and “spinning” by building toys. Their making combined experimentation, observation, engineering design, and design thinking. And it went something like this: Building a Balancing Crayfish Calling it a “crayfish” is sorta killing me, being from Louisiana (down there, it’s a “crawfish”), but I guess out here…

Kinder Programmers

Our kindergarteners are some of our biggest makers at Lighthouse. They make year-round, usually with sewing and woodworking (using handsaws, clamps, drills, and hammers). Now, they are in their second week of testing out a programming unit, and so far it looks like it’s going pretty well. You may recall my Turtle Art posts from several months back. This new…

5th Grade Turtle Art

“What happens when you click ‘forward?’” we asked, referring to an icon on the students’ computer screens. Several kids—mostly those who had seen “Turtle Art” before—raised their hands and said it “makes the turtle go up.” This was the introduction to a programming unit our 5th graders will be working on for several weeks. In “Turtle Art,”…

Shaping, Cutting, Connecting for Kids

What do words like woodshop and woodwork bring to mind?  For me, it’s always been the hand and power tools one uses that I think of most easily.   For kids in some of my afterschool classes, that’s been pretty much the same case.  When I asked Kindergartners and 1st and 2nd graders what words came…