By Paula Mitchell, Project Based Learning with a Maker Mindset project Team Lead

The LIGHT Awards program is pleased to share these updates from Paula Mitchell on two notable projects she organized with her team this year:

Project Based Learning / Maker Mindset in Action

Exciting changes are taking place at Grass Valley Elementary as we move from more traditional teaching and learning to engaging and empowering our students through Project Based Learning with a Maker Mindset. The video above, created in conjunction with Agency by Design, highlights our first Family Making night celebrating the grand opening of our new maker space, the Wonder Workshop. The video also showcases our PBL/Maker classes as they work on their first trimester project. The Driving Question for the unit was: How can we, as students, take control of our food resources?

Students took walking tours of their neighborhoods and used Google Maps to explore all the places they could get food near their homes. They then mapped the food sources and compared the availability and types of food by neighborhood. Students also learned about making healthier food choices, how to read food labels, and how to plant and grow vegetables. For their Maker project, each student constructed a personal planter box. We enlisted the help of the Diablo Woodworkers Association, who were instrumental in providing instructions, plans for building the boxes, and materials. The students showcased all of their hard work at an Expo held in November. See more photos from this work here.

Paper Circuitry Workshop

The Paper Circuitry Workshop was held at Grass Valley Elementary in late January and was led by David Cole from CV2 and NexMap. I met David when he co-facilitated a workshop in the Fall of 2015 called 21st Century Notebooking and thought it would be a great introduction to paper circuits for the Grass Valley team. David customized the workshop for our team, including an introductory lesson using blue painter’s tape that prepared us for working with the conductive copper tape. Our team learned how to create a simple and parallel circuit, using copper tape and Chibitronics leds. Unit planning time was also built into the workshop so we could develop lessons we would use with our students. Everyone left feeling excited and empowered to bring new technology into their teaching.