“Maker” EXPO encourages Hands-on Learning

A day of projects that were about on STEM and STEAM/NNYB

A day of projects that were about on STEM and STEAM/NNYB

Heathcote Elementary School teacher Christine Boyer was talking about presentations — the HEXPO event at her school last May, and the bridge presentation last fall. This year’s HEXPO happens again in May.

“We had a huge assembly at the start of school in October, and the first trip to the viewing area was in November,” Boyer said. “It was a sunny day, and everyone wanted to see the bridge.”

It was during one of the school’s buddy trips — one 5th-grade class will go with second graders — that the kids got to see how far the project’s progressed just past its 1,000th day (October 15, 2015).

That trip came on the heels of the school’s first HEXPO last May. “It was a great day with lots of people,” Boyer said. LEGO® Master Builder Aaron Tang brought bridge assembly kits he created, a treat for the kids.

“The PTA bought some of the kits for each grade,” she said, “so the kids can build them. Our school is big on social media, and we’ve been following the project on Twitter.”

Some students who went to the viewing area in the fall will return this spring.

Teaming up to build a LEGO® bridge/C Boyer

Teaming up to build a LEGO® bridge/C Boyer

“We talk a lot about documentation, and this way the kids take pictures and hold them side by side to see the changes,” Boyer said. “Some of our second graders who go next year as third graders will have that reference when we discuss it.”

Last year she organized the first Maker Expo — featuring hands-on learning and technology workshops that included 3D animation, design, building, LEGO® robotics and animation — to compliment the school’s “maker” philosophy.

“The Maker movement brings more engineering into schools,” she said. “We’re trying to highlight this curriculum, and even the kids in kindergarten are interested.”

Some of the students working in the Maker Space at Heathcote never held a screwdriver before, she said. “Now they’re saying, ‘Righty tighty, lefty loosey’ to remember which way to turn it.”

This time next year those kids will see the first span of the new 196,415-inch long bridge open to traffic. Now that’s a trivia question for you.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2016

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