This past November, I had learn from our local tech club that was held at our school every Tuesday and Thursday that they had Sphero and an Ollie, but had not unboxed or knew how to introduce them to students. I worked out a plan to bring them into our school just before our Science Fair and for our Holiday Art. With our two art teachers we started using the Spheros to start creating art in many forms with our students as shown below.
Our students became completely engaged with using code, art and design with some PBL and innovation lessons. So much, we had a guardian thank us for getting one of our students so engaged when they have been usually withdrawn. Sadly, we could not keep them on a regular basis and have since started a Donors Choose to get our own to use on a regular basis and transform our Art Room with STEAM. While we have less than two months to get funded for our project. We have decided to not let a lack of tools keep up us from building STEAM with our students.
If you have been seeing my Twitter feeds lately, I have been handing out achievement badges to my staff. Each one of them have been made with Perler Beads. If you don’t know what those are, Perler Beads are a plastic bead that can be assembled on a grid into various designs and shapes and then using an iron over wax paper to melt them together. The badges are designed around accomplishments a teacher or a student achieve. They are a physical badge that I based on a digital blue print created in Google Drawings. My students have just been learning how to use Google Drawings to make digital creation or backgrounds for their Google Slides or Infopics and Memes. The lesson is to have students create a digital blueprint using Drawings with only the ⊙ tool. They can change the color or shading to match the beads they will choose. Once they design the pattern, they create it using Perler Beads, since we lack a 3D Printer. There was one classroom that used a Raspberry Pi, Perler Beads and a magnetic to make an emoji where the eyes glow with LED lights if the craft drawer is not closed all the way. Great use of STEAM. We are hoping to move in this direction, if we get our grant for our LittleBits Kit this spring.
Another great tool we are using both with Google Drawings and Adobe Draw on our iPads since we are a 2:1 school is making Digital Trace Art. I was introduced to this a couple of weeks ago by the amazing, Tony Vincent. Where he showed how he made his images using Adobe Draw with his Instagram Account. My students leapt into this activity so much, they were coming to my office during free time to practice. We are going to be creating some digital posters using Trace STEAM Artwork next month and my students are extremely excited.
An activity I’m trying right now is using #STREAM. Similar to STEM and STEAM, STREAM has the R in research. Its becoming a more common practice in library media and STEAM classes. We are decorating our doors during Black History Month and my door was on Jerry Lawson. Who was a front runner for STEM with African since the 70s before STEM was even a term. I created my door with the various facts and terms using paper and Google Drawings and Pixabay, but I put a question on my door. “Why is this door these colors?” It was barely 10 minutes and I had students busting down my door asking about the question. I pointed them to my work station where I have three iPads an my work chromebook and said look at the door. Took about 5 minutes before one of my students found the answer that it was the original color pallet for the Fairchild-14. Plus, they also realized that the joysticks were similar to the Nintendo Wii a good 30 years before the system was released. Several were surprised to find out that if it wasn’t for Lawson, Atari and Nintendo would never have come into being as game systems. We then had them create classic 8 bit characters using Google Drawings to make their own Channel-14 type characters. It was just amazing to watch.
The final one, we are hoping to do soon was use the Perler Beads to make maze pieces for Ozobots. I was able to use Ozobots at two workshops in the last month and even lead a few students and teachers with them. The object is for students to take random maze pieces and assemble a path with them. The students then have to create the paths for the Ozobots to move safely through them, but it can’t be just simple black lines. Oh no! They have to turn, dance, and rotate to exit the mazes. Its a lot of fun and we throw in Coding Dice when we can. I’m hoping to purchase two bots next month with my own money for my students to use in our art room
There you have it, our building on STEAM in the art room. Its a challenge, but my staff and I are working hard to bring it to our students. It is all part of making them the innovators and leaders of tomorrow.