Module 4

Curriculum, Core Competencies, & Makerspaces

I WANT TO LEARN


I feel like my own personal lack of knowledge in robotics, engineers, and remotely operated vehicles is a detriment to my students learning. I would like to improve my own understanding of the basic elements of these fields so that I can improve my teaching in all my classes. Being able to guide students to learn about engineering is a key component in being a good STEM teacher, so I hope to personally improve in this area.  

MY INITIAL THOUGHTS

The new BC curriculum is essentially the only curriculum I have been teaching with for my career. The courses in my practicum were from the previous curriculum, but once I was teaching it quickly switched over. My district has also been participating in the current draft curriculum for the past two years for the K-9 proficiency reporting. I appreciate that the core competencies are included in our curriculum descriptions as it is important to highlight the “other” things students are learning at school in addition to subject content. I am currently spending my inquiry time at my school looking at incorporating assessment of curricular competencies with regularity as well as reporting on them. I would also like to investigate what our school currently does to report on students' core competencies. I have heard of a “Makerspace” from another course, but I do not know anything else about it. I am interested in investigating what I assume is a hands-on, student driven, activity zone. 

IDEAS FOR IMPLEMENTATION
 

Through my research for lesson plan ideas for robotics and engineering I came across some beginner lessons described on the Science Buddies website (ScienceBuddies 2022). I really enjoyed the simple and open-ended nature of the engineering design elements to these projects. I think that I can start teaching a little bit of these courses in my current classes as we do not offer any of them at my school currently. 

I enjoyed being able to research the idea of creating a makerspace at my school. While there are challenges with supply acquisition and management, I think the benefit to student autonomy, perseverance, and skill development will be worth the effort of giving it a chance. I already have most of the supplies needed to start setting up this space. I think I will spend some time organizing these items and developing prompts to guide students into using the space for the first time. 

Core Competencies

Mod 4 - Core Competencies & STEM.PNG

Robotics

The design for life cycle is similar to the design cycle for module 3 in that it involves the design of a solution to a problem, and the process may involve several iterations of design. The design for life cycle includes an additional component to the previous model: the consideration of social and environmental impacts. These are additional constraints to add on as a design challenge in addition to more traditional considerations such as the availability of materials, cost, and user requirements. These additional constraints align with the core competency for social awareness and responsibility.

Engineering

I was surprised to see that all four of these courses have the exact same big ideas, and the same curricular competencies for applied skills and applied technologies. I suppose I am so used to teaching Science 8-10 and senior Chemistry where those items are all unique! I like the overlap in skill development. I also enjoyed (colour coding) and putting together the similarities between the content in the four courses. The content that spanned all four courses was clearly the design for life cycle, and interestingly, also programming languages.

Mod 4 - Spreadsheet.JPG

Drones & More

The Remotely Operated Vehicles and Drones (ROVD) curriculum document contains a number of similar features to the Engineering and Robotics courses as they all incorporate a focus on the design cycle for life which is similar to the design cycle.

The curricular competencies for ROVD outline learning that includes ideating, prototyping, testing, making, and sharing as applied design skills. This closely models the design cycle which includes similar phases as imagining possible solutions, developing prototypes, testing prototypes, and sharing results. There is a strong focus on creating iterations and improving design over time.

The content of ROVD builds a basis of knowledge to support the skill development needed to use the design cycle. Including elements of historical applications, recent developments, and considerations in design. 

 

There are many educational uses for drones and remotely operated vehicles in a learning environment. The act of learning about these technologies builds a skillset for students to continue on in the industry. There is a growing market for skills with applications such as “surveying & mapping, video capture, military applications, and even to stage a synchronized 4th of July light show in dry areas where the threat of wildfires prohibits the use of traditional fireworks“ (Microdrones 2018). 

 

Novel technology such as unstaffed flying objects, unmanned aerial vehicles, and remotely piloted aircraft can have an increase in student engagement in the classroom (Schaffhauser 2018). These devices could also be used to enhance the demonstration of learning in other courses, whether its capturing video footage of the local landscape with a drone or designing and testing infrastructure prototypes with remote controlled vehicles. 

Makerspaces

Kurti et al states that the maker movement in education “is built upon the foundation of constructionism, which is the philosophy of hands-on learning through building things” (2014). Makerspaces are a place where “students are encouraged to experiment, invent and tinker with a range of materials and technologies” (Waters 2016). The idea of a makerspace is more of a concept than a planned set of activities. The goal of creating a Makerspace in your students’ learning environment is to encourage them to find their passion, not be afraid of trying new things, and recover quickly from failure. Authentic participation in a Makerspace will help students develop the “soft skills that they’ll need in their careers, regardless of what those careers might be” (Bolkan 2018).

Equipment & Space

Does a Makespace need to have technology in it? 

 

A makerspace is meant to be a flexible and creative outlet for working on student-designed projects. Technology is only required as is needed for any individual student’s inquiry. I think that with the prevalence of technology in most of today's classrooms, or at my school at least, it makes sense that having laptops, iPads, or a 3D printer would be enriching to the learning space. 

 

What are the benefits of including technology? 

 

Including technology in a makerspace allows students to research past design solutions, and to level up their projects from prototypes to real world solutions to the problems they are investigating. Working with technology is a tool of the 21st century worker and having free access to technology in a makerspace will help develop students’ proficiency in this skill. Students may also become more independent during worktime, as they have access to the internet to support their design ideas rather than just the teacher (or other classmates). 

 

Does a Makerspace need a dedicated space? Why or why not? 

 

A makerspace can be flexible or fixed. If a makerspace is flexible, more students might be able to access it, and it can be used more often throughout a typical day. However, it might be difficult to keep organized and secure, and students might not have a space to store projects that they are working on. If a makerspace is fixed, I think students would feel more comfortable entering the space to create. Supplies and student work would be easier to manage and store in a fixed location. 

 

What do you think are necessitates of a Makerspace? 

 

There are so many directions that a makerspace can be developed towards, that I think the necessities have much less to do with the materials and equipment and a lot more to do with the teacher in charge and protocols for students. If students are taught to respect the space, and if the lead teacher is inviting, welcoming, and supportive of creativity, students will be happy to enter the space and try new things. I think the biggest barrier to a makerspace at my school would be the hesitancy of the majority of the population to try something new and that they would be afraid of failing. A few structured activities in the space might help to build their confidence before it truly becomes a student-led area. 
 

How would you sustain your school's Makerspace?   

 

I see two or three options for implementing a makerspace at our school. The shop class would be a great opportunity to really lean into woodworking and electronics development, to be able to build objects to scale after prototyping. There would be additional challenges of an increased amount of safety and learning by the students before being given freedom in the space though. 

If the makerspace was in the computer lab it would be a great setup for designing robotics and computer programming, access to technology would be easier with a class set of computers already in the space. 

If the makerspace was in a library or classroom there is still a wide variety of things students could work on: cardboard construction, small scale prototyping, and textiles and sewing are just a few more examples. All of these things could still be done in the shop or the computer lab however, with their unique advantages adding to the possibilities. 
 

If our makerspace was in a fixed location, I am sure the department that it is located in would be the one managing the supplies and the budget. In support of STEM I am sure my science department would chip in some funds to support consumables. The school admin could be asked to contribute to big purchases or create a small annual budget to support the space. I am usually pretty thrifty saving every cardboard box ever and buying all craft supplies from the good old dollar store. I probably wouldn’t actually get that many materials to start, maybe basic crafting supplies for prototyping. I would probably do a monthly supply run at request from students for what they think they need for their specific projects. 

Designing A Makerspace

Capture1
Capture1

press to zoom
Capture2
Capture2

press to zoom
Capture9
Capture9

press to zoom
Capture1
Capture1

press to zoom
1/9

Module 4 Summary

In this module we investigated the curriculum for Robotics 11/12, Engineering 11/12, and Remotely Operated Vehicles and Drones 12. We compared the design cycle to the design for life cycle, analyzed the similarities and differences between robotics and engineering, and explored educational uses for drones and remotely operated vehicles.


The design for life cycle is similar to the design cycle for module 3 in that it involves the design of a solution to a problem, and the process may involve several iterations of design. The design for life cycle includes an additional component to the previous model: the consideration of social and environmental impacts. These are additional constraints to add on as a design challenge in addition to more traditional considerations such as the availability of materials, cost, and user requirements. These additional constraints align with the core competency for social awareness and responsibility.

I was surprised to see that all four of ROB 11/12 and ENG 11/12 have the exact same big ideas, and the exact same curricular competencies for applied skills and applied technologies. The content that spanned all four courses was the design for life cycle and also programming languages.

There are many educational uses for drones and remotely operated vehicles in a learning environment. The act of learning about these technologies builds a skillset for students to continue on in the industry. There is a growing market for skills with applications such as “surveying & mapping, video capture, military applications, and even to stage a synchronized 4th of July light show in dry areas where the threat of wildfires prohibits the use of traditional fireworks“ (Microdrones 2018).  
Novel technology such as unstaffed flying objects, unmanned aerial vehicles, and remotely piloted aircraft can have an increase in student engagement in the classroom (Schaffhauser 2018). These devices could also be used to enhance the demonstration of learning in other courses, whether its capturing video footage of the local landscape with a drone or designing and testing infrastructure prototypes with remote controlled vehicles.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

REFERENCES

Bolkan, J. (2018, March 1). Integrating Makerspaces Throughout the Curriculum. THE Journal.

https://ocul-qu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/fulldisplay?context=PC&vid=01OCUL_QU:QU_DEFAULT&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI&tab=Everything&docid=gale_ofa546839923 

British Columbia Ministry of Education (2018, June). ADST11 Robotics. Province of British Columbia. 

https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/sites/curriculum.gov.bc.ca/files/curriculum/adst/en_adst_11_robotics_elab.pdf 

 

British Columbia Ministry of Education (2018, June). ADST12 Engineering. Province of British Columbia. 

https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/sites/curriculum.gov.bc.ca/files/curriculum/adst/en_adst_12_engineering_elab.pdf  

 

British Columbia Ministry of Education (2018, June). ADST12 Remotely Operated Vehicles and Drones.

Province of British Columbia. 
https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/sites/curriculum.gov.bc.ca/files/curriculum/adst/en_adst_12_rovs-and-drones_elab.pdf  

Cooper, J. (2013, September 30). Designing a School Makerspace. Edutopia. 

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/designing-a-school-makerspace-jennifer-cooper 

Dass, P. (2015, January-March) Teaching STEM Effectively with the Learning Cycle Approach.  K-12 STEM

Education Vol. 1, No. 1, (pp.5-12). http://onq.queensu.ca/content/enforced/667126-CONT951001S22/Teaching%20STEM%20Effectively%20with%20the%20Learning%20Cycle%20Approach.pdf

Fontichiaro, K. (2016, February). Sustaining a Makerspace. Teacher Librarian 43:3.

https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/117499 

Hlubinka, M., Dougherty, D., Thomas, P., Chang S., Hoefer S., Alexander, I., & McGuire, D. (2013). 

Makerspace Playbook School Edition. Makered. https://makered.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Makerspace-Playbook-Feb-2013.pdf 

Jolly, A. (2014, November 18). STEM vs STEAM: Do the Arts Belong? Education Week.

www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/opinion-stem-vs-steam-do-the-arts-belong/2014/11

 

Kurti, R. S., Kurti, D. L., & Fleming, L. (2014, June). The Philosophy of Educational Makerspaces Part 1 of

Making an Educational Makerspace. Teacher Librarian 41:5. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-Philosophy-of-Educational-Makerspaces-Part-1-of-Kurti-kurti/c1c91df674af209b768853efebed8764324b4698?p2df\ 

 

LaForce, M., Noble, E., King, H., Century, J. Blackwell, S. H., Ibrahim, A., & Loo, S. (2016, November

21). The Eight Essential Elements of Inclusive STEM High Schools. STEM Education Journal. https://stemeducationjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40594-016-0054-z

Loewus, L. (2015, April 2). When Did Science Education Become STEM? Education Week.

www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/when-did-science-education-become-stem/2015/04

Meyer, L. (2017, April-May). Planning and Implementing a Makerspace in Your School. THE Journal. 

https://ocul-qu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01OCUL_QU/sk7he5/gale_ofa495034812

Microdrones (2018, July 27). Driving Education with Drones. Microdrones. 

https://www.microdrones.com/en/content/driving-education-with-drones/ 

Natural Beach Living (2022 May). How to Make a Rainforest Terrarium with Kids. Natural Beach Living. 

https://www.naturalbeachliving.com/rainforest-terrarium/ 

Root-Bernstein, M. & Root-Bernstein R. (2011, March 16) From STEM to STEAM to STREAM: Writing as an

Essential Component of Science Education. Psychology Today. 
www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/imagine/201103/stem-steam-stream-writing-essential-component-science-education

 

Schaffhauser, D. (2018, July 25). Drones Take Off in Education. THE Journal. 

https://thejournal.com/articles/2018/07/25/drones-take-off-in-education.aspx 

Science Buddies (n.d.). Building Junkbots – Robots from Recycled Materials. Science Buddies. 

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/teacher-resources/lesson-plans/junkbots

Science Museum Group (2022, May). Spaghetti Structures. Science Museum Group. 

https://learning.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/resources/spaghetti-structures/ 

 

STEM Learning (2020, June). STEM Clubs Challenge – Make a Rope [Video]. YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1wySzOdZBo 

 

STEM Minds (2019, January 11) 10 Makerspace Starter Activities. STEM Minds. 

https://www.stemminds.com/10-makerspace-starter-activities/ 

The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM (n.d.). What is Steam Education? The Institute for Arts

Integration and STEAM. www.artsintegration.com/what-is-steam-education-in-k-12-schools

Waters, J. K. (2016, October). What Makes a Great Makerspace? THE Journal. 

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/10/20/what-makes-a-great-makerspace.aspx