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Constructionist Projects

Page history last edited by Josh Burker 3 years, 6 months ago


Three projects to encourage flexible thinking, open-ended explorations of an idea, and different means of sharing one's constructed knowledge.


Introductory remarks

- Today we are going to explore the intersection of crafting and technology.

- The first project we will work on together has a recipe that you follow for the construction of the physical artifact but the 'zine and the software is yours to personalize.

- The second and third projects have no defined solution but rather prompts for you to consider and construct demonstration of your response to the prompt.

- Part of what we are going to play with today is time and how much time we allow ourselves and our students to examine a topic and construct knowledge about what interests us about the subject.

- Another thing we are going to play with is documentation. Everything we do should be documented. There are google docs for you to gather our group's knowledge over the course of the day.


Project 1: Scratch/Makey Makey Interactive Poetry 'Zines

- We will start the day working on the 'zines together as a group. 

- You will work with some of the tools that will be used throughout the day in other projects.

- You will learn how to use the documentation on this wiki to work at your own pace and still be supported.

- You are asked to document your own progress in this project as well as subsequent projects through a variety of mediums: notes, photographs, links, etc.


Project 2: Makey Marble Machines

- Smaller groups will work in succession to construct marble machines. You will have 45 minutes until you move to the next project.

- You might not finish iterating and debugging the machine.

- Your documentation will help subsequent groups pick up where you left off.

- By the end of the day we should have working marble machines.


Project 3: Playful LEGO Tinkering with Art, Sound, and Light

- Smaller groups will work in succession to construct LEGO Tinkering devices and machines. You will have 45 minutes until you move to the next project.

- You might not finish iterating and debugging the machine, so make sure you provide documentation for the next person working on the device.

- By the end of the day we should have working LEGO Tinkering devices and machines.



- What were your successes?

- Where do you wish you had more success?

- Consider the amount of time you had to work on projects 2 and 3. Was it enough time? Think about the projects you assign your students. Do your students have enough time to do a deep investigation of a topic? 

- What role did documentation play in your learning today?


Scratch/Makey Makey Interactive Poetry 'Zines



Combine poetry, simple circuitry, animation, and sounds to bring a work of literature to life.


This project demonstrates how the humanities can be integrated into a STEAM project. The open-ended nature of Scratch invites different means of interacting with the text. The physicality of the book makes for a fun crafting project, and collaging the images precludes anyone claiming that she or he is not an artist.


Information about the project is here.

Makey Marble Machines



Building upon what you learned about the Makey Makey and Scratch, construct a marble machine that plays a short piece of music. 


This project encourages bricolage: the art of using familiar, on-hand materials to get a job done. Using ramps, cardboard, dowels, and other famiilar objects in combination with new materials like the Makey Makey, conductive copper tape, switches, and Scratch, you will transform a rolling marble into a musical instrument.


Information about the project is here.

Playful LEGO Tinkering with Art, Sound, and Light



LEGO Tinkering started with the Exploratorium's Tinkering Studio but has since spread to Twitter. People of all ages experiment with different means of creating art, sound, motion, dance, and other creative displays of movement and share their work using the hashtag #LEGOTinkering.


The playful aspect of this portion of the workshop is that there are no instructions. Instead, you are encouraged to consider a couple of images and basics of connecting pieces, using gears and linkages, then trying them out for yourself. Make adjustments as necessary.


There are three challenges you are asked to work on during your time at this station:


- Make art

- Make sounds

- Tell a story using light and motion


Information about the project is here.


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