Tuesday, September 15, 2015

EMMA Visits Kindergarten

One of Emma’s first school visit was to be part of a maker lesson at Summit School Kindergarten.  I am so thankful to Lisa Foley for inviting me join her as she applied some of the skills she had picked up during our Create Make Learn Summer Institute.

I don’t remember any kindergarten classroom, every looking quite like this.

The Essential Question driving the lesson was clearly articulated on the class white board.

Artistic sketches on the the class whiteboard illustrated some of the key  SCIENCE concepts embedded in this lesson.

Ms. Foley started by demonstrating the steps the students would be following to create a READING WAND which lit up at one end when students pointed the wand while pressing a SWITCH at the other end.    

Ms. Foley’s years of experience as an educator working with Kindergarten students were evident in the  balance of structure and freedom she provided.

She anticipated that some of the steps might need scaffolding  Adults around the room (including myself)  were available to help the students through the steps as needed.

Since I did not have access to the student’s media permissions, I chose not to include pictures of the students making; however I can say that every student ended up with a working Reading Wand that they would be using in an upcoming literacy lesson.

In this iteration of the Reading Wand, Ms. Foley used some telephone wire that had been donated to extend the leads of an LED.  This was probably the most challenging part of the activity and usually required some help from the the adults in the room. You would also check with your IT department to see if they have old network wire you can break into.


Once the end of the telephone wire was stripped and attached to the LED, the students added a few pieces of beautiful ribbons and attached the LED, Wire, and Ribbon to the top of the dowel with a piece of colorful tape and ribbon.    Make sure to notice which color wire is attached to the positive (long) end of the LED.

At the opposite end of the wand,  the wire attached to the positive side of the LED  was pressed against the + (positive) side of a coin cell battery and secured with a piece of tape leaving one part of the - (negative) side of the battery exposed.   (Make sure the battery is secure enough so it will not come loose.  

The loose wire  (which should be attached to the negative lead) can be curled up so that it can rest against the ‘exposed’ part of the coin cell battery.    This allows the student to press them together when holding the wand every time they want the wand to light.   

It is very important that the battery be attached securely so that it cannot easily become loose.  
Allowing the students to use their reading wand in a classroom under supervision is recommended.  Educating  students and their parents about coin cell battery safety is an important part of making.

An alternative way to create a wand is to use triple A batteries and a milkshake straw.
See these instructions by Caty Wolfe for two different approaches to creating a Magic Wand.

Thank you to Lisa Foley and her students for inviting EMMA and I to visit their school.

This type of follow-up with those who attended the Create Make Learn Institutes fuels me with inspiration!

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