Throughout the month of March, The Digital Arts Experience (The DAE) was excited to participate in an event called March Maker Madness at Heathcote Elementary School. Inspired by the Westport Public Library’s Makerspace, educator and Makerspace curator Christine Boyer was compelled to bring something similar to Heathcote. In addition to The DAE joining in on the fun, Curious-on-Hudson also participated in the Maker Madness. In its core, March Maker Madness was a way for students and educators to get together to experiment with all “Maker”-related fields including STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & math) focused projects and by using design thinking, creative technology and in some cases just some good ole’ duck tape and cardboard, every participant had fun and surely learned a new thing or two!

As Ms. Boyer wrote in her blog, Ramblings of a 5th Grade Teacher:

…March Maker Madness materialized to be something fantastic in it’s own right. Two organizations with close ties to Heathcote School, donated their time and conducted several high-energy, thought provoking workshops for our students. The Digital Arts Experience led design thinking challenges asking students to re-imagine their classrooms and let their imaginations run wild with ideating and prototyping, Curious-on-Hudson led vehicle inspired workshops that explored the power of wind and utilized found materials to design and build the ultimate derby car.  Our Middle School Robotics Club rotated students through stations to teach about building, sensors and coding. A most professional trio that left the groups wanting more!

Every Monday in March, Rob Kissner, President of The DAE traveled to Heathcote to participate in these workshops to get the students’ creative gears turning. Rob led challenges that included having the students redesign their classrooms, asking “How can we design the ultimate classroom?” Through these processes, the students used their creativity and imaginations to come up with ideas using trial and error, design thinking and prototyping different layouts for their classrooms.

Curious-on-Hudson experimented with wind power through various workshops including the use of small, handmade vehicles. Students used materials provided in by their school to build wind-powered boats. The boats were handcrafted by participants to explore the capabilities of wind power and they conducted activities to test their hypotheses. 

 

In addition, the Heathcote Middle School Robotics Club taught the Elementary school kids about building a robot, utilizing sensors and coding them. Seeing older kids teach younger kids is a great way to promote learning across different age levels.  In that type of learning environment, younger kids tend to get inspired by the older kids.  It also allows the older kids to learn through teaching and practice caring for younger kids to develop a sense of responsibility and maturity.

 

Overall, the event was a success seeing the enthusiasm with each student. Although participation was voluntary, the workshops quickly filled up with excited students.  These workshops sparked conversations, innovation, and collaboration among the Heathcote community. Christine Boyer has been an outstanding figure in the Maker Movement of Westchester County and through these events, she continues to keep Heathcote in the forefront. The DAE is always excited to collaborate with her and the Heathcote School in any was possible.