Make Your Own Teaching Tools

As part of our sixth-grade capstone project, The Legends of the Trash Creatures, students learn coding and robotics skills through the Hummingbird Robotics platform, the micro:bit, and MakeCode. We take students through basic operations like turning an LED on and off, controlling a servo motor, and sensing the environment through changes in light and distance... Continue Reading →

Pewter Casting – Make Your Own Coins

(* This post has been updated since the original post date) I first saw this concept in action at Moxi, the Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, in Santa Barbara. Like a mini version of the Exploratorium, Moxi provides visitors of all ages with hands-on science experiments, arts and crafts, and workshops ranging from high-tech... Continue Reading →

Furniture Design Project

As a ramp-up to the 8th-grade capstone Passion Project, we work to provide our students the experience of design and Design Thinking through various projects. This year, as a result to having little exposure to woodworking and power tool training due to the pandemic, our 8th grade DCM (Design•Code•Make) class focused on a furniture design... Continue Reading →

The New Tinkercad Shapes Panel

This month, Tinkercad released a new Shapes Panel organized by categories and subcategories of shapes. This new look replaces and enhances the previous version and will soon include models submitted by Tinkercad users. Here are the current categories: You can preview each category in full or isolated into subcategories. For example, here is the Vehicles & Machines... Continue Reading →

Neopixel LEDs and the micro:bit

For the past few weeks, I have been working with the 6th grade on micro:bit in preparation for their Legends of the Trash Creatures project. This year, given our health protocols related to COVID, students are not doing group work, which is traditionally an essential part of our LTC project. In years past, part of... Continue Reading →

CSFirst, New and Improved, But Still…

When Google's CSFirst curriculum initially debuted a few years back, it provided a simple launch pad and curriculum for classrooms to use and learn about Scratch programming. Basic lessons walked students through engaging videos on various coding topics as students practiced what they saw on video in their own Scratch project. The main frustration with using CSFirst... Continue Reading →

Hey SketchUp, It’s Been Awhile

When I first entered the world of 3D design over a decade ago, the one tool freely available at the time was SketchUp. With my love of architecture going back to my high school years, SketchUp felt very familiar and intuitive. Start with a floor plan and build up from there. Need an elevation plan?... Continue Reading →

Anatomy of a Project (Scratch)

In my work developing instructional videos on various technology-related tools, I often focus on short videos with discrete concepts so that students can access these topics as needed during their learning journey. "Need to know how to cut a hole out of a solid in Tinkercad? See this video. Want to learn about the best tool for... Continue Reading →

Robot Petting Zoo(m)

I have enjoyed the Robot Petting Zoo (RPZ) project over the years, while in an actual classroom and while students could work together in small groups to design these fantastic creations. Students design and build these unique creatures out of everyday materials (cardboard, foam packing, construction paper) and robotics equipment (microcontrollers, sensors, motors, LEDs.). The... Continue Reading →

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