FAB Projects to Welcome Spring!

The following blog post is by Peggy Healy Stearns, Lead Software Designer, Fab@School Maker Studio.

Ahh! Budding trees, chirping birds, gentle rains that wash away the winter snow. Sometimes just the thought of spring lifts our spirits!

Spring is a great time to feel the wind beneath your wings and navigate your way to new classroom adventures. Fab@School Maker Studio (FabMaker Studio) offers lots of possibilities that inspire students and support curriculum standards. Here are a few ideas.

 Harness the Wind

Celebrate the season with a project that capitalizes on the windy season! Have students design pinwheels, attach them to a straw or pencil, and let the wind give them a whirl. Students can start with the simple Pinwheel design in FabMaker Studio (Ready Mades, 2D Stuff) and then experiment with the number and shape of blades to see what design is most efficient. Kick it up a notch by connecting pinwheels to a motor to create a generator. For details and curriculum connections, see the Wind Power Challenge on the FabMaker Studio site.


Life Cycle

Baby birds and bunnies abound as life renews itself! Spring is an ideal time to study the life cycle and celebrate the diversity of nature. Young students at the Lighthouse ArtCenter in Jupiter, Florida, welded FabMaker Studio 2D shapes to create an enchanting kingdom of animals from farm to jungle, woods to tundra and beyond. Other students designed nets that folded into barns and buildings and 3D structures. This is a motivating follow-up for favorite books on the animal kingdom and life cycle.

Students at the Oklahoma Christian School created this charming scene from Peter H. Reynolds’ new book Say Something. We loved the idea so much we recreated several 3D bird designs in FabMaker Studio Ready Mades. Check them out and encourage students to design their own.


Build a Birdhouse!

In spring, birds hunt for homes to nest and raise their families. Planning and building a birdhouse motivates kids to research local birds and put their engineering skills to practical use. Use FabMaker Studio to design and create a cardstock prototype built to scale. Then enlist the help of the Career and Technical Education class or a parent to build the finished birdhouse for the school grounds. We’ve added a sample prototype “Birdhouse” to Ready Mades.

Plant a Seed

After reading Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel , first graders at Robinson Elementary School in Mansfield, MA, used FabMaker Studio to make mini recyclable planters. They designed cardstock cubes, lined them with plastic baggies, and filled their planters with dirt and grass seed. With a light mist of water, their garden was on its way. When students use their own original pots, they are more motivated to track seeds as they germinate and sprout. This project engages students in life science and multiple math standards as they use 2D shapes to create nets that transform into 3D objects.

Drag Out Those Skateboards!

Time to put away mittens and sleds and drag out the skateboards! While lots of kids dream about a neighborhood skateboard park, students in Albemarle County, VA, used an early version of Fab@School Maker Studio to design and prototype their own. This activity engages students in math and engineering as they calculate size, scale and angles for their model skateboard ramps. Click on the video player to hear teacher Tammy Scot and her students share their thoughts about this compelling project.

Do you or your students have an idea for a Fab@School Maker Studio project? Share your projects on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tag with #FabMakerStudio. We’d love to feature your students’ work in a future blog post. Email Andrea Calvin at andrea@reynoldstlc.org for more information.

 Check out these resources for more inspiration and specific directions.