The Maker Movement: Spurring Scientific Inquiry

The Makery, located in Louisville Collegiate School’s Fine Arts building, is where students and teachers gather to collaborate, invent, design, and build. It’s where they’re encouraged to try and, if they fail, to try again. It supports JK-12 curricular initiatives and is equipped for such things as light woodworking and metalworking, 3-D printing, laser cutting, and etching.

Individually and in teams, eighth graders have created “magic c-sticks,” simple wooden toys whose construction helped them learn a few basic tool skills and safety lessons. The project was linked to a discussion of the nature of science and the process of scientific inquiry.

In the Upper School, Maker Portfolio Lab students are learning tool techniques and journeying into the design thinking realm by constructing cedar birdhouses in the style of a Piet Mondrian painting. The Engineering Design Lab class has explored the application of 3-D modeling software in order to design objects incorporating a hinge and a spring latch. They also discovered the circuitry and mechanics of disposable cameras by taking them apart and documenting the relationship and functions of the pieces.

Projects can be as simple as a wooden birdhouse, or as complex as an autonomous flying robot, says Greg Geis, Maker Education Coordinator. They frequently represent a fusion of art, engineering, science, mathematics, and technology, and depend on “good old-fashioned craftsmanship” to bring them to life.

Does your school do something similar?

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