All of this is a wonderful result of providing a rich learning environment for our students, but as an instructor it challenges me to revisit and sometimes re-invent my own curriculum. This is the case for the fall, as I have adjusted my goals for Creator's Studio. While in prior years I focused mainly on tool use during the first half of the semester in order to prepare students for their personal project, this year all units of study are wrapped inside projects and threaded with the "Design, Build, Iterate" process.
I have now broken down the semester into these four projects:
1) Light Up and Spin! (Electronics): Digging a little deeper into how a circuit works, and understanding power versus load, students will create their own circuit block using LEDs, incandescent bulbs, or a motor. It will include a switch and a power source.
2) Shake Your Groove! (Mechanical Motion): Here students will investigate automata and their various mechanical movements, using cams, gears, levers, and other components. Starting with a prototype in cardboard and foam, students will ultimately walk away with their own automaton demonstrating motion through manual power.
3) I am Robot (Coding/Robotics): Using our Hummingbird Robotics kids, students will work in pairs to build and program a type of robot that senses the environment and reacts in some manner through lights and/or motors.
4) Personal Project: The largest portion of the semester is dedicated to a student's individual personal project. While similar in nature to prior years, this year there is an emphasis on originality. Students can be inspired by others' work, but step-by-step "kits" are no longer allowed. Rather, students must design, build, and iterate in order to complete the project. Students will share final work with parents on the last day of class.
I look forward to the new goals for this semester and will, of course, reflect on this experience in the coming months.