Maker Club

I had a great time last term helping with some school-based Maker Club's around town.

Dunlop PS sold t-Shirts to bring me in for a fully facilitated club.  That means I led the club members through complete projects and supplied all the materials.  There was a Primary Club for grades 1, 2 and 3 and a Junior Club for grades 4, 5, 6.  Each club was held over a 25 minute recess so we generally did one project over two weeks.  A lot of prep went in to making sure the kids spent most of their time working with the project and not waiting for components or instruction.  We had 18 students in the Primary Club and 25 students in the Junior Club.  We were successful working with such large groups because of the wonderful parent and teacher volunteers who came in to help!  With the volunteers we were able to have the students work in small groups so they had help on hand to answer questions and didn't have to wait for me to make it to the table.


We all had a lot of fun.  We learnt some new skills and worked with new tools.  Some kids found some new areas of expertise that they were able to help others with.  The Primary Club and Junior Club worked on similar projects with either different components or different levels of prep by me before the club began.  Here is some of their work:

I have also been volunteering with the Maker Club at my son's school, JH Putman PS .  My son just started here this year.  JH Putman is a middle school that has a lot of extracurricular activities that are run by staff, students and volunteers.  This year, JH Putman has started transforming their old darkroom into a makerspace and I have volunteered to come and supervise the makerspace once a week.  When we started out the year we had some computers and a handful of MakeyMakey's and we were waiting for more equipment to come.  My son convinced a few of friends to come join him in the makerspace and we started playing with the MakeyMakey's.  Some of the older kids already had a cool game controller going, but I needed something to get the new grade 6 kids involved.  I brought in a few different project ideas from Make that involved hooking the MakeyMakey up to Scratch.  They spent a week or two modifying the "Door Knocker of Doom" to work with a foot pedal.  And then I left them this:

I fully admit that by this point I was experimenting with how little information I could give them and have them get a project to work.  And by the time I came back the week after, we had this:


It's not hooked up to the MakeyMakey in this photo - but they had it hooked up and working. We experimented with adding new notes.  I love it.  Since then, we've had a fantastic donation of equipment to the makerspace and they are interested in learning how to solder and, of course, de-solder.  I can't wait to see where this group heads this year.




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