TeachersFirst's MakerSpace

This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about the MakerSpace movement and mindset. Engage your students, challenge their minds, teach cooperative learning, and more. There is no right or wrong way to do a MakerSpace. Use the tools provided to find digital options to use in your MakerSpace area. 

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Candy Pumpkin Catapults - Playdough to Plato

Grades
K to 5
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Students will love learning about simple machines by building catapults to launch candy pumpkins. Then, using just a few supplies, challenge students to see whose pumpkins fly the farthest....more
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Students will love learning about simple machines by building catapults to launch candy pumpkins. Then, using just a few supplies, challenge students to see whose pumpkins fly the farthest. Along the way, students also explore other scientific questions that examine the impact of size and weight and consider the effect by using different types of supplies. This article includes complete directions along with images for incorporating the pumpkin catapult into early childhood classrooms. Of course, be sure to use caution and discuss safety rules when hurtling items at any time. If possible, take this activity outdoors to allow more space for launching the catapults.
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tag(s): makerspace (43), preK (246), Problem Based Learning (12), simple machines (16), STEM (228)

In the Classroom

Although this lesson describes activities for pre-k classrooms, the challenge is suitable for adaptation to any elementary class. Try the challenge with other small items at any time. For example, during the winter holidays, use snowman erasers or during spring, try catapulting different sizes of pompoms to see how far they fly. Adapt this activity for older students by providing the supplies at a learning center or makerspace area without directions. Allow students to explore options on their own to build and create a catapult. Use a digital organizational tool such as IdeaBoardz, reviewed here, to record and share students' observations. Extend student learning by creating ebooks using Book Creator, reviewed here, that include images of students' creations, text of their observations, and audio explanations of the STEM learning. For younger students, create a class book together. Older students can create individual books to share as part of your class's digital library.

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Halloween STEM Challenge - Bone Bridge - Feel-Good Teaching

Grades
3 to 8
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This STEM challenge is not just for Halloween; include it with your makerspace activities and problem-solving lessons at any time during the school year. Provide students with supplies...more
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This STEM challenge is not just for Halloween; include it with your makerspace activities and problem-solving lessons at any time during the school year. Provide students with supplies including q-tips, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, pennies, and rulers to begin this challenge. The goal is to use the provided materials to build bridges that test strength, capacity, and length. Suggested content connections include the skeletal system and bridges.
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tag(s): body systems (41), bridges (12), forces (35), halloween (31), holidays (136), makerspace (43), Problem Based Learning (12), structures (19)

In the Classroom

Incorporate this engaging activity into a Halloween learning center, or for those that don't celebrate Halloween at school, include this activity within many content areas. This activity is easily adaptable to lessons about the skeletal system, force and motion, bridges, and even geometric properties. As students begin exploring different methods to create bridges, use Google Jamboard, reviewed here, as an information-gathering resource. Create a Jamboard with two columns, one column for ideas that work and another for failed attempts. Use a student blogging tool such as Edublogs, reviewed here, and ask students to blog about their bridge-building attempts. Include pictures of student's creations as part of their blog. Extend learning by asking students to describe their problem-solving activities and share their thoughts on important features required to build strong bridges by creating a multimedia presentation using Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education, reviewed here. Adobe Express includes tools for creating websites, videos, images, and more. Another multimedia presentation tool to consider is Genially, reviewed here. Genially includes easy-to-use features that can create interactive images, video presentations, and interactive content. Use Genially's features to create interactive images that include students' explanations of their bridge's features.

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ArchKIDecture

Grades
4 to 7
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Explore the resources offered at ArchKIDecture - you'll find a list of books, links to other resources, lessons, and project ideas. A few project ideas include drawing a floor plan,...more
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Explore the resources offered at ArchKIDecture - you'll find a list of books, links to other resources, lessons, and project ideas. A few project ideas include drawing a floor plan, building a toothpick structure, and building a geodesic dome. All projects include a materials list. Sign up for the free newsletter to receive notice of new project ideas.

tag(s): architecture (64), book lists (126), makerspace (43)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use when implementing STEAM activities or makerspaces. Introduce this activity with a projector or on an interactive whiteboard to show students how to navigate the site. Then, in your flipped or blended classroom (or at a computer center), have students, or small groups of students, explore on their own. Allow them to choose a book (creating book groups?) or a project to explore. Ask students to create their own concept maps to record their learning and understanding using MindMup, reviewed here. Challenge students to use their concept maps to share what they learned with peers by making an interactive infographic using Gennial.ly, reviewed here. Genial.ly allows students to insert videos, hyperlinks, & maps that are interactive.

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Babble Dabble Do - Ana Dziengel

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K to 6
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Connect the arts and sciences through hands-on exploration with creative projects shared on Babble Dabble Do. Begin by selecting one of the four categories - art, science, engineering,...more
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Connect the arts and sciences through hands-on exploration with creative projects shared on Babble Dabble Do. Begin by selecting one of the four categories - art, science, engineering, or design for kids. Each topic includes many ideas for projects for preschoolers and up. Project ideas all include step-by-step directions with pictures, many also include videos.
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tag(s): design (85), engineering (111), makerspace (43), STEM (228)

In the Classroom

Be sure to add this to your toolbox of ideas for teaching STEAM topics and for ideas to use in classroom makerspaces. In addition to adding this site to your favorite bookmarks, consider creating a board on Pinterest, reviewed here, of sites with ideas for STEAM projects. Share the board with your peers and collaborate on adding STEAM sites as a group. Extend learning throughout and after project activities as you include student work as part of a portfolio on Seesaw, reviewed here. Seesaw offers tools for all ages of students to create digital portfolios including written or audio reflections on work. Instead of just sharing images of student creations on your Facebook page or school web page, help students enhance their learning by creating digital books using WriteReader, reviewed here, to share online for family and friends. WriteReader is a site specially created for use with younger students to share their writing and images.

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Coding In the Classroom Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about coding, and for use as a guide for finding the appropriate tools for use...more
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This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about coding, and for use as a guide for finding the appropriate tools for use with all grade and skill levels. Nurture problem solving, logic, and creativity. Find resources for just one hour of code or for use as ongoing technology lessons.

tag(s): coding (77), computational thinking (38), computers (97), critical thinking (105), design (85), makerspace (43), problem solving (219), STEM (228)

In the Classroom

Explore these resources for use with after-school computer clubs or as an excellent tool when recruiting skilled parent volunteers. Turn the intimidating content of computer programming into an exciting learning adventure for all with these helpful sites!

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Hacking STEM Library - Microsoft

Grades
4 to 10
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The Hacking STEM Library provides a vast array of STEM projects for easy incorporation into any classroom. Scroll through the site to view the Activity Library, Master Skill Guides,...more
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The Hacking STEM Library provides a vast array of STEM projects for easy incorporation into any classroom. Scroll through the site to view the Activity Library, Master Skill Guides, and Bite-Size Activities. Each activity provides a quick look at cost, grade level, and amount of time needed before linking to the full lesson plan. Lesson plans include complete instructions, objectives, and necessary documents.

tag(s): angles (50), critical thinking (105), electricity (60), energy (126), light (46), makerspace (43), Microsoft (74), problem solving (219), solar energy (33)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of these free activities to include with any STEM lessons already taught. Many activities are perfect for use with Genius Hour or Makerspaces in the classroom. Ask students to share their journey in completing activities in a blog. Seesaw, reviewed here, offers tools for building digital portfolios and incorporating blogs. Ask students to annotate images taken of their activities with text, URL's, or videos using ThingLink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kodu Game Lab - Microsoft Research

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3 to 12
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Kodu is a software download for creating Windows PC games through a simple programming language. Download Kodu for free from the Microsoft Fuse Lab (there are "Get Kodu" buttons on...more
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Kodu is a software download for creating Windows PC games through a simple programming language. Download Kodu for free from the Microsoft Fuse Lab (there are "Get Kodu" buttons on the home page and the tips page). The software allows you to create and personalize virtual worlds through point and click options. Additional options offer "if this, then that" personalization to add variety to the game. Under Resources find the "Getting Started" tutorial videos that reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. A download is also available for Xbox games; however, it is not free.

tag(s): coding (77), game based learning (167), gamification (79), makerspace (43), Microsoft (74)

In the Classroom

Have students work in teams to design and develop content demonstrating an understanding of lessons in any subject area. Begin sharing Kodu with your computer experts who are interested in programming. Allow them to be the leaders in sharing how to use and personalize the program. Enhance their learning by asking them to create game creation tutorial screencasts using Screencast-o-matic, reviewed here, to share with their peers. Use Kodu as part of an after-school computer club. Be sure to take advantage of the resources section of Kodu for tips and tutorials on using the program.

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Little Kids Rock - Jam Zone

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K to 12
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Learn to write music, play instruments, and sing with Little Kids Rock. Start with a video tour of the site, or choose from links to learn a song, take a ...more
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Learn to write music, play instruments, and sing with Little Kids Rock. Start with a video tour of the site, or choose from links to learn a song, take a lesson, or practice. Choose from the song list of popular music and artists to learn to play a song using options for different instruments. Narrow your choices by a level of difficulty, title, or artist. Use the Take a Lesson link to learn to play several different instruments. Short videos start at beginner levels and move up in difficulty. Practice skills using games and song jams.

tag(s): makerspace (43), music theory (46), musical instruments (42), musical notation (36)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out the Teacher Zone and its free lesson plans and resources. This site is perfect for differentiation in the music classroom. Allow students to choose an instrument and learn at their own pace and level. Share a link on your classroom website for students to practice at home. Take advantage of the vocal lessons to learn about songwriting. After watching videos, have students write a song to summarize a novel, share information on climate change, or sing about an event in history. You may wish to take that a bit further and challenge students to record the song using a tool such as UJAM, reviewed here, where you simply record your voice (even talking and not singing!). UJAM is free and synchronizes your voice and its speed to a variety of different background music options.
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MakerBot in Education - MakerBot Industries, LLC

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6 to 12
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Learn about the uses of 3D printing in the classroom with resources provided by MakerBot. Choose Resources from the top menu to find Webinars, Videos, and Case Studies. Use the ...more
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Learn about the uses of 3D printing in the classroom with resources provided by MakerBot. Choose Resources from the top menu to find Webinars, Videos, and Case Studies. Use the search feature to find grant and white paper information for funding 3D printers and an essential information packet for pitching and implementing 3D printers in the classroom. Email registration is required to view and download information.
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tag(s): crafts (48), creativity (94), drawing (60), makerspace (43), modeling (7), robotics (24)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for materials and information about 3D printing. Take advantage of the downloadable materials when trying to find funding for a 3D printer. Once you receive your 3D printer, find many ideas and downloads at Sketchfab, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Musink - Musink

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4 to 12
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Musink is a free software download for music composition for Windows devices. Create sheet music by easily placing and clicking notes onto the desired location. Musink automatically...more
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Musink is a free software download for music composition for Windows devices. Create sheet music by easily placing and clicking notes onto the desired location. Musink automatically moves notes, rests, and more when adding notes or marks to the score sheet. When finished, publish your composition as a PDF, XPS, or PNG image file. Listen to or download your music in MIDI format. Be sure to view the introductory video and example page for a full understanding of options when using Musink.

tag(s): creativity (94), makerspace (43), musical notation (36), Teacher Utilities (128)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate the art of composition while using Musink on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Share Musink with students and encourage them to create their own music. In Destination Imagination or Odyssey of the Mind, use your scores to showcase talent. In honoring multiple intelligences, highlight the students' with musical talent. While reading historical fiction novels, have students compose a song typical of that period with the commonly used instruments and style. Offer in after school clubs for music, guitar, or band.

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KidsThinkDesign - Kids Design Collaborative

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4 to 12
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KidsThinkDesign offers insight into the many different areas of design. Choose from several categories to begin exploring design in architecture, fashion, interiors, and more. Each...more
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KidsThinkDesign offers insight into the many different areas of design. Choose from several categories to begin exploring design in architecture, fashion, interiors, and more. Each section includes a short overview of the topic and opportunities to meet a designer and think like a designer. In addition, each design section includes instructions for a project for you to complete on your own.
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tag(s): animation (63), architecture (64), design (85), fashion (10), graphic design (48), makerspace (43)

In the Classroom

Share KidsThinkDesign with your school's art teacher as an excellent addition to art lessons or for ideas to use as a collaborative project. Share with students as part of career exploration activities to help them learn about the different areas of design and also try some designs on their own. After creating a design, have students upload a photo they have taken and add voice bubbles to explain what they learned using a tool such as Phrase.it, reviewed here.

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Instructables - Project Based Engineering for Kids - Autodesk, Inc.

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K to 8
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Discover a collection of problem-based learning engineering lessons for building models in the areas of physics and structural and mechanical engineering. For each topic, a video with...more
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Discover a collection of problem-based learning engineering lessons for building models in the areas of physics and structural and mechanical engineering. For each topic, a video with step by step construction directions accompanies a necessary list of materials. Create your project, and let the explorations begin. Explore ideas given for basic explanations or ideas to test for some of the buildable models. Create a collection, share, or add some ideas for activities. Topic ideas include slingshot rockets, rubber band helicopters, extending grabber, simple pneumatic machine, cork shooter, catapults, slingshot cars, truss bridges, simple sail car, marble roller coaster, gliding car, tower tornado, and crash test cars, among others. Share this awesome find on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, or email. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.
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tag(s): engineering (111), makerspace (43), Problem Based Learning (12)

In the Classroom

Bring out the "inner engineer" in each of your students! During physical science units, visit this collection to get directions for students to build simple models to supplement content. You might want to visit the accompanying site How to Teach Project Based Engineering to Kids before getting started. Students can work in small groups to create a project. Different groups can demonstrate different laws of physics. Add this to your class website as a do-at-home project to encourage exploration at home. During language arts when focusing on using concise, clear, language, listen to the directions and use as a model. Enhance learning by having students write the scripts for creating other models using Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Using these online documents affords many benefits, including the ability to add comments, highlight information, and add links to online information. Extend learning by having students create a multimedia presentation featuring the directions and construction of the student model using Thinglink, reviewed here. With Thinglink students can annotate, narrate, and add related links to an image. In gifted and talented classes or pull out programs, consider for a beginning of a deeper understanding of the concepts. Move forward with virtual field trips to see the "real" machines at work. Find ideas for after school clubs, camps, and more.

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Virtual Musical Instruments - Virtual Musical Instruments

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K to 12
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Bring the world of music and instruments into your classroom. With Virtual Musical Instruments, you can explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, or bongos. Select the instrument,...more
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Bring the world of music and instruments into your classroom. With Virtual Musical Instruments, you can explore the guitar, piano, pan flute, drums, or bongos. Select the instrument, and follow the directions for using the keyboard to play the different notes. Create different melodies using different notes or rhythms. Use the guitar tuner to be sure you are in tune. There is no record option on this tool. If you want to record your beat, there are many alternative options (such as using a cell phone, or an old-fashioned recorder).
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tag(s): makerspace (43), music theory (46), musical instruments (42)

In the Classroom

Virtual Musical Instruments opens up the world of music into many other subjects. In music class, discover the different instruments, sounds, and rhythms the virtual instruments can produce. Allow your students to make their own compositions. Challenge them to determine a way to give the directions for their composition to another person so that they can repeat the original piece. In language arts class, discuss mood in literature. Determine the instruments used, the rhythms, and sounds needed to make that effect. During Readers' Theater, add a musical score for more excitement and engagement with further analysis of the text. Have students create a musical composition that tells a story. Now, play that musical story for the class, and turn it into a writing prompt. Use musical sounds and beats to illustrate the concepts of literature and the use of plot. Determine a melody for each character. Write to explain why each character has that musical composition. Math class brings the study of fractions with types of notes: whole note, half note, quarter note, and eighth notes. Let students create a musical sentence that represents them and write to explain why. Use whatever recording option is most practical in your classroom.

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Kotobana - Kotobana

Grades
K to 12
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"Draw" a flower from the visual text of a single word using this simple Japanese tool. The basic tools are labeled in English. Browse the Gallery to see examples. Click ...more
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"Draw" a flower from the visual text of a single word using this simple Japanese tool. The basic tools are labeled in English. Browse the Gallery to see examples. Click +draw to make your own. Enter a single, short word and choose options such as font and color scheme. Give it a name, and it will be added to the Gallery. There are other sharing options for the designs you make, but many are labeled in Japanese! If you click to open it from the Gallery, you can copy its direct URL from your address bar to save as a Favorite or share with others. Turn off autoplay in the Gallery to keep your design on the screen. Roll your mouse over a design (or tap it on a tablet) to make it spin! You can share to Facebook and Pinterest directly. The easiest way to share is by saving the URL or by taking a screenshot of your finished design (Printscrn button on Windows or Command+Shift+4 on Mac). You also have the option to actually print. Note that the gallery could have word designs that may be in other languages or possibly be inappropriate for young people. Our editors found nothing objectionable at the time of this review. Preview to be safe. Click the sound on/off option in the footer to turn off the music as you enjoy the site.

tag(s): design (85), firstday (22), graphic design (48), symmetry (29)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate radial symmetry in an art or math class using this tool. As you teach letter shapes in kindergartens, try making a design to help your students see the shape in this colorful format. If you teach about fonts in an art or graphic design class, this tool can spark discussion about the design elements of letter forms. An idea for elementary or middle school teachers: Have students create "flowers" of their own names (or shortened nicknames) as a getting to know you activity during the first week of school. Post the design screenshot images on your class web page or print them to put in the hallway.

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Tinkercad - Circuits - Autodesk

Grades
4 to 12
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Create circuit diagrams easily with this tool. Drag and drop elements onto the schematic. Name each of the elements (resistors, etc.) and save schematics once you create an account....more
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Create circuit diagrams easily with this tool. Drag and drop elements onto the schematic. Name each of the elements (resistors, etc.) and save schematics once you create an account. Add layers by clicking on the Settings tab. Use the Help tab to find the most common shortcuts with this tool. This tool has been tested in Chrome which is the recommended browser. Other browsers work, though there may be some issues with how items look or perform.

tag(s): circuits (18), computational thinking (38), creativity (94), electricity (60), engineering (111), makerspace (43)

In the Classroom

This site is a great addition to any classroom lesson or unit on electricity or circuits. Try the activities as a class on your interactive whiteboard or projector, explaining what the symbols mean. Have students complete activities on their own using classroom computers. Take screenshots of the digital schematics students have created. Have students create an online presentation on electricity and circuits using using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge presentation tools. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Visme, Adobe Creative Cloud Express for Education , Kizoa, and simpleshow video maker.

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MAKE - MAKE

Grades
10 to 12
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Join the movement of educators and students who are focusing on making instead of consuming. Students identify an interest and work on a project of their creation to present at ...more
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Join the movement of educators and students who are focusing on making instead of consuming. Students identify an interest and work on a project of their creation to present at a Maker Faire. Unlike Science Fairs which focus mostly on competition, Maker Faires showcase student work and innovation. With focus now on STEM and doing science, Maker Faires are a great way to increase excitement in the STEM areas and careers. The Maker Playbook is an easy way to become familiar with the movement.

tag(s): inquiry (23), science fairs (21), STEM (228)

In the Classroom

Increase the amount of DIY learning in your classroom by joining the Maker Faire movement. Not close to an actual Maker Faire? Implement ideas in the playbook to increase the amount of STEM in your class and a new way to learn to engage your students and create excitement in careers they have not thought about. Consider holding an in-school Maker Faire of your own with parent help.

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Spatulatta: Cooking 4 Kids Online - Spatulatta LLC.

Grades
2 to 8
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The subtitle of this site, Cooking 4 Kids Online, says it all. From hundreds of "video recipes" to kid hosts, opportunities to submit your own recipes as Remote Reporters, ...more
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The subtitle of this site, Cooking 4 Kids Online, says it all. From hundreds of "video recipes" to kid hosts, opportunities to submit your own recipes as Remote Reporters, featured recipes including healthy snacks, information about cooking utensils and supplies, lessons in cooking basics, and up to date previews of upcoming sections, this site motivates kids to learn to cook and eat in a healthy manner. You can teach basic weights and measures using healthy foods. Clever section titles make even eating veggies attractive to all kids.This site requires Quicktime. Get it from the Teacher's First Toolbox TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): cooking (30), makerspace (43), nutrition (133)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource during your unit on nutrition or in your FCS Foods class. Share the link on your teacher web page for access in and out of class. Encourage students to share the recipes at home and offer a class contest for the best healthy snack recipe. The prize: the class will submit the winning choice to the web site! If your PTO/PTA sponsors after school clubs, this site could be the core content for a great one.

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The Rube Goldberg Site - Rube Goldberg, Inc.

Grades
4 to 8
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This fun site offers a retrospective on Rube Goldberg's wacky inventions and includes examples of how present-day engineering students devise 20-step ways of accomplishing simple tasks....more
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This fun site offers a retrospective on Rube Goldberg's wacky inventions and includes examples of how present-day engineering students devise 20-step ways of accomplishing simple tasks. The site is a great "idea site" for students getting used to invention and problem solving.

tag(s): makerspace (43), puzzles (142)

In the Classroom

Review the invention pictures included on this site on a projector or whiteboard as an activator activity for an inventions unit. Have students draw or design their own machine for performing a similar every-day task.

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