2012–A Maker Team Begins
In 2012, Maker Team began as a building club at the Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina in the USA. Our first project was a 3D printer, which makes three dimensional solid object from a digital model by laying down successive layers of plastic. The students, including second through fifth grades, did most of the work, with help from a few adult advisors. In the process of building this printer, these children learned about the science behind the printer’s functions, but also participated in a process that integrated product design and management, engineering, teamwork, project management, and engagement in global market forces.
More about 3D printing:
- What is a 3D printer?
- What can you build with 3D printers? Explore Thingiverse.
- How do you make designs for 3D printers? Explore TinkerCad. (There are many applications available; TinkerCad is free.)
In 2013-2014, a fresh new year with fresh new projects, we made a cover for the 3D printer and made some artbots (self-propelled drawing robots–cheap and fun!). We also used the 3D printer to print parts for an “egg bot”—a robot that draws on rounded objects like eggs and ping pong balls.
Since then, Maker Team has grown with our school. In 2014 we doubled the number of students and explored lots of STEM-based tinkering projects, while continuing to work with our 3D printer (it needed some repairs).
With the addition of 7th grade in 2015 and move of the Middle School to the Hunt Street campus, we split into two teams, the Elementary and the Middle School teams. Following our school’s project-based approach, each took on a separate task: the Elementary teams made Lego stop-animation movies (“The Walk of Doom” and “The Cursed Rubies”), and the Middle School team built a harmonagraph.
In 2017 we grew yet again with the addition of a second Elementary School team (for new makers). This team made catapults, stomp rockets, and much more!
The other Elementary team (for returning makers) built a city out of Lego bricks and brought it to life with electricity.
The Middle School team worked on several projects, including a wall bot.
The goal of Maker Team is to provide a hands-on environment where kids can build something awesome–maybe without even realizing they are being engineers! Younger students will focus more on the tinkering, exploring, team-building, and problem-solving aspects of the task. Older students will run the club like a business–everything from ordering supplies to taking attendance to making sure there are snacks. Teams write blog entries to keep you posted about their progress.
Most importantly, we work together to build, learn, and have fun!