Making involves students engaging in problem solving as they create personally meaningful products and learn valuable content. Through making, youth gain access to sophisticated tools for building and for thinking, including computational thinking. To facilitate this innovative work, UTeach is integrating activities that support making throughout the program.
In Step 1, students are formally introduced to 'making' as an educational movement. For their final Step 1 project, students make an artifact that tells the story of their growth as a teacher. Students present the artifacts they create on the last class day. Though digital technologies are not given preference, this project is an opportunity to have students explore new technologies and to encourage invention and making in the classroom. Through this project:
Students explore how making can be integrated into traditional science and mathematics courses at the middle grades. This is accomplished through participation in demonstration lessons by Master Teachers and through negotiation of lesson ideas with local mentor teachers. The use of technology as an inquiry tool is required in at least one lesson in Step 2, and using elements of making to meet this demand are encouraged.
For their final project, students in this course are given the option to construct a 3-D printer, mix chemicals to make a photopolymer, design an object to be printed with functions via Mathematica, and finally 3-D print this object. Read more about this project in The Mathematics Teacher article below.
FitzPatrick, D. L. & Dominguez, V. S. (2017). Fostering Persistence: 3D Printing and the Unforeseen Impact on Equity The Mathematics Teacher, 111(3), pp. 182-188.
Students in Classroom Interactions are given the design challenge of creating their own pinhole camera. Using resources such as tissue boxes, toilet paper roll, duct tape, and tracing paper, student are given a limited time to construct their cameras to be reviewed by another class. Students then engage in the iterative process to improve upon their designs. In some sections of the course, students engage in a maker activity featuring the creation of paper circuits.
Students in Apprentice Teaching are given the opportunity to apply for a Innovative Teaching Award for ApprenticeTeachers. UTeach has developed the this award as a way to incentivize the use of progressive teaching methods and acknowledge the outstanding work of our newest teachers. All apprentice teachers using PBI or maker-centered lessons in the classroom are encouraged to apply. Awardees are given a financial stipend are honored at the UTeach Apprentice Teaching Recognition dinner.
UTeach offers internship opportunities at several university and school-based makerspaces. These internships help students develop expertise with tools as well as additional maker knowledge and skills.