Students work to create physical models of bacterial plasmid transformations in AP Biology.

Students, teachers explore MAKERLAB opportunities 

In the three months since our MakerLabs have been operational, exciting opportunities continue to thrive as our students explore their passions with everything from creating their own turkeys for Thanksgiving to crafting handmade jewelry for loved ones.

Our lower school friends are studying vertebrates and their habitats, which lent itself well to a lesson in MakerLab 1.

“We are learning about various habitats along with predator and prey relationships. After going to our MakerLab to create their own turkeys, our students developed habitats for the turkeys to hide so that they wouldn’t be seen or caught for Thanksgiving,” said Melissa Silverman, lower school science teacher.

Our third-grade students are studying the six simple machines of lever, wedge, inclined plane, screw, pulley, wheel and axle.

“They are creating mousetraps using as many simple machines as they can,” said Silverman. “This project was inspired by Tom and Jerry’s mousetrap episode.”

Not only are our students bringing to life their favorite cartoon episodes, they also are designing custom jewelry in the middle school MakerLab 2 using 3-D printers to craft gifts for their family members.

“I’m making a sunflower coaster,” said Caden Houghton ’23. “My sister is living in her own apartment, and she doesn’t have coasters, so she asked me to make them for her. She loves sunflowers.”

“I have created earrings, and I’m currently making an Xbox that is doll-sized for a mini arcade that I’m creating,” said Caroline Burton ’23. “I came up with that idea after winning a doll-sized billiard table from an arcade.”

The pace hasn’t slowed for our upper school students who are doing everything from using the laser cutter, Makey Makey® and coding to create physical models of bacterial plasmid transformations to building set models using Sphero robots for “Macbeth.”

“Working in groups, our students were given an act from ‘Macbeth.’ They used Spheros, which are round robots that can change color, speed and movement. Each of them had to choose a character from the act and used the robot to depict the scene,” said Amy Robb, upper school English teacher. “They analyzed the emotional state of a character to decide how to program the robot to display that state and navigate through the scene.”

The three MakerLabs, one at each division, were made possible due to the generous donors who contributed to the Fund-An-Item at our 2016 auction. As the spaces continue to evolve, students and teachers are finding ways to make the classroom more engaging for today’s dynamic students. The MakerLabs are open to Collegiate families as well.

For more information on the MakerLabs, please contact Brendan Hoyle, coordinator of maker education, at bhoyle@norfolkcollegiate.org.

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