After we enjoyed the taco bar (so. much. salsa.), spending a little time getting to know each other, and having a quick Decatur Makers orientation, we began a brainstorming session to come up with a problem that would be the focus of the weekend.
We were led by Kathy Fritz from creatombuilder.com. There were many interesting problems but the winner of the evening was “How can roads be more productive in energy production?” The remainder of Friday evening had some amazing mind maps created by breakout groups.
This would be the starting point for the smaller Maker Scholar Leadership teams to pursue the next day.
Saturday morning started the way that every Saturday morning should start. Doughnuts and coffee! Thanks to our friends and founding sponsor at Revolution Doughnuts for fueling our creative designs.
Each Maker Scholar team consists of a teacher, two older assistants (high school or college kids), and five team members (middle school kids). The teams also have support and participation from mentors (many of whom are members of Decatur Makers) who bring skills and insight to the team.
The leadership teams (teachers, assistants, and mentors) met all day on Saturday. We learned about the design thinking process, and how to use the creatombuilder.com site to help convert project based learning concepts into necessary educational components (lesson plans, assessments, learning objectives, rubrics, etc.).
We used the example problem of making roads more productive, to demonstrate the features of the site and the flow of a design thinking process. The teams went out in the field and made observations.
At the end of the day, they documented and presented their findings to the other group.
We are very excited to see the Maker Scholar program come to life this summer. A huge thanks is due to the sponsorship from the Georgia Technology Authority Digital Georgia Program which is funding this as a Makerspace Scholarship Pilot Project.
The next step is to get all three teams (that’s right, we have 24 maker scholars!) working on designing, prototyping and building an interactive hands-on experiment which will be used in an actual K-12 science classroom in the 2015-2016 school year. The hands-on activity will be STEAM based and directly tied to a Georgia educational standard. With help from creatombuilder.com it will use design thinking and project based learning methodologies.