From child inventors to dungeon masters and more

This week’s link round-up is the place to be if you’re looking for project ideas and insight into the neurology of your students.

Let’s get started!

10-Year-Old Develops Car Safety Device

In inspirational news for anybody wondering just what fifth graders are capable of, 10-year-old Bishop Curry in McKinney, Texas has developed an impressively complex device designed to protect children left alone in a car.

The innovative pre-teen was inspired by the death of a local child and he told his local news station, “I knew exactly where the house was. I heard about babies dying in car seats and they could have grown up to be somebody important. It makes me pretty upset.”

Bishop’s device, “The Oasis,” alerts parents via text message when a child has left the car and can even begin blowing cool air onto the car seat’s occupant when the ambient temperature rises too far.

Can a SparkFun Grant Kick Start Your Maker’s Classroom?

Educational technology company SparkFun has announced the launch of a new and ongoing grant program with the aim of helping educators beat their budgetary woes when trying to bring maker technology into the classroom.

The SparkFun Community Partner program asks educators to explain what need they’re trying to meet, and awards grants (usually valued in the sub-$500 range) of relevant maker technology and products, including inventor’s kits, programmable circuit boards and more.

Inspire Your Budding Dungeon Masters

With “Stranger Things” still capturing the zeitgeist, it’s no wonder that table top gaming — especially Dungeons & Dragons — has seen a resurgence of popular interest. If you’ve got a classroom full of young gamers dying to find their own Eleven, what better way to spark their interest than letting them learn to design their own tabletop experiences?

This article from Makezine provides a great collection of tutorials, tips and advice about teaching your kids to design everything from buildings to entire worlds!

Using Technology to Close the Art Education Gap

It’s no surprise to any of us that arts funding in our classrooms has been slashed to the bone over the last 30 years. An increasing number of kids are likely to go their entire educational careers without ever taking a dedicated art class, leaving it to other teachers to try and incorporate the world of creative making into their curriculum.

Edudemic’s write-up takes a look at the issue and examines how technology can be used to inspire creative thought processes and hands-on, art-based learning in your classroom.

Are We in Danger of “Check-Listing” Design-Based Thinking to Death?

A constant obstacle in the road toward building a maker-based classroom is figuring out how to walk the fine line between guiding your students and “prescribing” to them. So much of traditional education is about memorizing a set-in-stone list of tasks and steps to take, but are we in danger of stifling growth and creativity when we bring the same mindset to more creative endeavors?

In a thought-provoking piece at the Atlantic, author Jessica Lahey takes a deep dive into the semiotics of design thinking when it comes to education.

Using Spatial Reasoning to Teach Mathematics

The most effective teaching methods are the ones we’re able to tailor to the cognitive strengths and weaknesses of our students, especially in elementary school when so much of their learning is driven by the hard-wired processes in their little brains. This investigative look from Mind/Up makes a compelling argument that it’s vital for young children to explore the world of mathematics through special activities, especially those that promote a hands-on, self-driven learning environment.

That’s it for this week’s round-up! Are you itching to get started on your next maker-based project? Get started by using our Tinkercad design tool to start building today!

Reference Links:

https://www.good.is/articles/invention-baby-hot-cars

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/02/13/grant-spotlight-free-gear-for-your-makerspace-from-sparkfun.aspx

http://makezine.com/2017/02/03/the-make-guide-to-dungeon-master-crafting/

http://www.edudemic.com/art-and-technology/

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/01/how-design-thinking-became-a-buzzword-at-school/512150/

https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/01/29/why-spatial-reasoning-is-crucial-for-early-math-education/

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