Makercart At Kingston Elementary School
It's been truly delightful to deliver Makercarts to various schools over the last year or so. To feel the excitement grow when students and teachers peer into the "travelling tech totes of awesomeness" (actual quote from a student). We love to hear all about the experiences that accompany the exploration of the equipment inside. Mr. Nick Baskwill, a grade five teacher at Kingston Elementary School, gives a first-hand account of his class's journey in making. Enjoy!
BRILLIANT LABS MAKERCART
From "Thoughts From Mr. B"
Original blog found here
Mr. Nick Baskwill
This is a post that has been a long time coming. Back in October I was contacted about having a Brilliant Labs Makercart in my school and housing it in my classroom. It took less then 2 seconds to say 'yes' and to be incredibly excited! The cart arrived stocked full of different materials: Makey Makey's, an Arduino Kit, a Redbot, a Raspberry Pi 2, Little Circuits, a Hummingbird kit, some wearable tech, a drawer of creative materials, and then the two class favourites, a sewing machine and a Printrbot Play - 3D printer.
Over the course of the 4 months we had the cart we jumped in and explored all the materials in it. These explorations were student led, hands on, and awesome! Students discovered, created, made mistakes, got frustrated, confused, and tried again. And above all, love it. The beauty of the cart is the ability to explore with classmates, find something that you really like and explore it farther. It is not easy to understand all that is in the cart (I still do not understand it all), and students get to experience things being difficult. The perseverance that they learn and experience is invaluable. Too often students are not allowed to fail and pick themselves back up.
The Makercart allows for this and the result is stronger students who are not scared of a challenge or not getting it right on the first go. The support of the wonderful staff of Brilliant Labs was great. Sarah (@sarah_sarahryan), Kim (@KimDesveaux) and Jeff (@brilliant_labs) were always available to answer a questions and provide support. The materials from Brilliant Labs were awesome, but the people made it all work. The Makercart has now left the class and headed to someone else. I think of it a bit like the Phantom Tollbooth, a magical box to spark the imagination and creativity of all those who use it. So we were thrilled that we got to experience it, and now are looking to build our own Makercart, and build on the success we found with Brilliant Labs.
*UPDATE*: Mr. Baskwill's class has a Makercart for a second time and we're looking forward to hearing more from him!