Bright Ideas

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Yesterday Marsden hosted its very first Maker Party, thanks to Mozilla, Wellington Makerspace and the wonderful Jess Weichler. We advertised the opportunity to our Y6-Y8 girls, and it was almost a full house! Not being at all au fait with Maker Education, it was amazing to see an expert like Jess in action.

The session started with a mini-lesson on electronics. I really enjoyed the way Jess interacted with the girls, speaking in language that they (and me – Science dud!) could understand. Did you know that electricity is lazy and if you give it a shortcut, it will take it? Having said that, Jess also didn’t shy away from using ‘real’ terms like ‘polarity’, which I also liked.

Everything was relevant to the task ahead: making an LED light bracelet. I think the photos below speak for themselves as to how the girls enjoyed it:

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I think one of the things I found most interesting was towards the end of the party when Jess was bravely asking the girls for their feedback and what they thought she could do better next time. A number of the girls commented that it was hard to attach the LED light to their wire bracelet and that Jess should have told them an easier way. However, I completely disagree. I thought it was valuable for the girls to have to persevere with the task. The light didn’t work – try another way. The pipe cleaner is interfering with the circuit – insulate the wire frame. The battery is scratchy – cover it. To me, in addition to learning by making and creating, the real power in this kind of activity is in the tinkering. Having to figure out ways to make it work. After all, life doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

Thanks again to Jess – a wonderfully enthusiastic and passionate educator – and to one of our Primary staff members for coming along and supervising with me – and to the Marsden Library: great to see an innovative use for this welcoming space. Here’s to more Maker Parties to come!

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