By Rebecca Hoskins
Group projects can be tough. They require communication, teamwork, dependability, and other nuanced skills. But as the old adage goes, it takes a village to raise a child (this also happens to be one of the more important group projects).
Collaboration between tinkerers and teaches supports students learning by allowing kids more hands-on learning opportunities. This is important because according to this 2009 study, students who engaged in hands-on learning got more out of their science and technology education. Research is also starting to indicate that hands-on learning supports student engagement with other subjects such as language arts and social studies. Teaching core subjects in the makerspaces could also potentially help students who struggle with typical learning environments. Adding a creative element to curriculum provides more points of entry to the student who learns better by working with their hands.
Ravenswood is filled with great examples of cross-curriculum collaboration among teachers. In the makerspaces specifically, I’ve seen some really fruitful teamwork at several of our sites. Take Belle Haven, for instance, where Tinkerer Jonathan Bryant worked with 5th grade teachers Ms. Cooper and Ms. Dickinson to teach their classes about magnets and levitating trains. They made effective use of their makerspace time by doing lessons and worksheets in the classroom and then building on those concepts by doing hands-on experiments in the makerspace. At Brentwood, Tinkerer Edward Hostia collaborated with 5th grade social studies teachers ms. shelley and ms specter to develop a project where students built miniature colonial towns. At McNair, Tinkerer Ben Magee regularly partners with Technology Teacher Tim Jones to challenge the students in their 6th and 7th grade tech electives.
These are just a couple of really great examples, and I’m excited to see even more tinkerer/teacher collaboration as our program evolves.