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Maker Lab Report

Steve Dial
EDUC 3343
3/23/15

In the Maker Lab, I operated the Sphero, observed others operate the laser engraving
machine, built a catapult from a kit, and worked with the three dimensional printing pen.
Additionally, I observed others working with the circuit building kit and the robotic vehicle.
Unfortunately the three dimension printer was inoperable, as I was curious to see how one
worked and get a feel for how long it took to print an object. Overall, I thought the experience
was informative, in that I was able to observe some of the capabilities and limitations of the
various technologies. I thought the Sphero and the catapult kit were fun novelties, as were most
of the various technologies we worked with. However, I think all of them could be very valuable
tools for engaging students in the learning process and for sparking their curiosity and creativity
in the learning environment.
The Sphero would be very useful for introducing students to some of the more esoteric
capabilities of, and get them thinking about potential alternate uses for, technologies that are
readily available and often underutilized. The circuit building kit and robotic vehicle kit would
be good tools for hands on learning of how circuitry works and for experimentation with basic
robotics. The three dimensional printing pen would be a great tool for students to experiment
with in creating three dimensional artistic and geometric shapes. All of these technologies would
be great tools for sparking student inquiry and getting them to begin thinking creatively about
different technologies, what they may have to offer, and where they might be going.
The laser engraver and the three dimensional printer probably offered the most immediate
utility, in that they could be used to create a virtually limitless variety of items for immediate use.
In this regard, they offer students not only the opportunity to be creative, but also the opportunity

Maker Lab Report

Steve Dial
EDUC 3343
3/23/15

to experiment with different ideas and see the immediate results of their ideas and
experimentation.
I very much like the idea of using project based learning in the classroom and think all of
the project based learning tools we were introduced to offer unique learning opportunities to any
student who is fortunate enough to be exposed to them and has the opportunity to manipulate
them. I would readily incorporate project based learning into my classroom as it introduces
students to concrete examples of the applicability of the various concepts they are being
introduced to. While I cant readily think of any examples of how to incorporate them into an
algebra class, other than graphing calculators and various computer programs to display what the
various functions are doing or models to visualize the concepts; I can think of several for a
geometry class. One could have students calculate the volume of models of various geometric
shapes and then experiment by pouring sand from one to another to physically see that the
formulas and properties work. Students could work with string and models of spheres to actually
see where the concept of pi comes from. They could also manipulate two dimensional models to
actually see the Pythagorean Theorem in action and conceptualize its real world application. In
addition to these ideas for a geometry class, there are innumerable possibilities for demonstrating
the foundational mathematical concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
using models and projects.
Overall, I enjoyed seeing some of the tools available for project learning and the
experience started me thinking about ways to incorporate hands-applications into any potential
class I may be instructing.