To better align with the new lower school schedule, the Brandeis maker education program has shifted from a yearly theme for all grades, first through fourth, to grade-level themes. Kindergarten continues to be introduced to making and technology in a way that meets their developmental needs. “First grade will be exploring building fundamentals,” explains maker educator Sandee Bisson. “They are starting the year learning about the materials we use to build, their strengths and drawbacks, and how to choose the right material for the task.” Students will engage in a sewing project this year, and the “big finale will be an architecture project where students design and build their model room.” Second graders are studying motion, and will spend the first half of the year exploring the four main types of mechanical motion building-related projects. In the second half of the year, “students will dive into the ever-popular DIY pinball machine project.”
In third grade, students are exploring color, light, and sound and are using shadow boxes to see first-hand light color, reflection, and refraction. This is the foundation for students, as later on they will build their own LED lamps. And in fourth grade, students will review and expand on the learning from the themes explored in previous years to build a large-scale, still-not-secret interactive project.
Adds Mrs. Bisson, “Maker education is the mixing bowl of our school program. It's where we take a smidge of science, a dollop of math, a sprinkle of language arts, a titch of art, a few pinches of Jewish ethics, and mix them together to create something new. It is where we take the ideas and knowledge we build every day and apply in new and exciting ways. It is joy.”