Our Maker Tech Lab is constantly filled with excited students ready to create and make, from first bell through lunch, to long after school gets out. The spark of invention burns most brightly when their ideas can take physical form quickly. I am constantly astonished by what these young engineers, given access to a space with precise tools, can envision and create.
Our hundreds of eager Makers form an incredible mix of backgrounds, with about sixty percent Latino and about the same from socioeconomically disadvantaged families.
Being in the middle of Marin county, there is a middle-class and affluent population as well, making for a truly diverse student body. Our young engineers bring a set of energy curiosities and concerns as diverse as their backgrounds, from worrying about their family's energy bill to wanting to know how the solar panels on their roof works. Students in the Maker Technology, Exploring Maker Technology and Maker Club programs are given the opportunity to build and create to address real-world problems; it makes their schoolwork relevant, real and not really feel at all like work.
Our young engineers' inventiveness and problem solving bloom when they are given access to robotics equipment. All too often, that initial enthusiasm gets quickly dashed by the complexity of the wiring and programming most robotic platforms require. This high bar of entry results in reserving this expansive technology for only those committed few in daily classes and dedicated club members willing to put in the long hours of learning before their first success.
These Micro:bit robotics boards will open up the world of robotics for all our beginner learners to experience understanding and successes in their first sitting!
Developed in conjunction with the BBC, these amazingly simple, yet powerful boards have most of what a student would want already built in with no wiring is needed, allowing students to dive right into programming without a Herculean effort. It is so approachable that even students coming in at lunch could experience a robotic success in the span of one lunchtime! Within the context of a class, my students can begin learning robotic concepts on Micro:bit boards without the usual frustration and confusion and can then graduate to more complex systems when their ideas outgrow these platforms.
We have seen these boards promote success at some of the more progressive Maker programs around the country. Thanks to the possibilities this site opens up, we are bold enough to dream that a curious student wandering in at lunchtime could have a simple, interactive robot working by the end of lunch, motivating them to dream even bigger. Won't you consider helping make that learning experience possible for hundreds of students?
If you donated to this project, you can sign in to leave a comment for Mr. Singer.
DonorsChoose is the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Mr. Singer and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.