Dr. Sharon Jones, the founder of thedot. Consulting, has partnered with Jennifer Hamilton, the magnet coordinator of Northeast Middle School to plan and implement the first annual MakerDay at Northeast Middle School. Darnell Bennett (the executive chef at Tupelo Honey), Paula Okonneh (of Chatting with the Experts and LadyTech Charmers), and Jillian Klingberg (the executive director of the Dottie Rose Foundation) worked with groups of students to help them see how computational thinking is part of their everyday lives as adults.
“We have created a Maker Day by partnering with the community to further our computational thinking reach. We wanted the kids to see professionals who use computational thinking everyday so that they can see how the skills we are teaching them will help them in their futures,” Dr. Jones said of today’s event.
Mrs. Hamilton said that the purpose of today’s MakerDay is twofold: first, to provide a rich experience for the students of Northeast Middle School; secondly, to model how seamlessly computational thinking can be integrated into the core subject areas. She said, “ I created exemplar lesson plans for each of the four interdisciplinary experiences so that teachers can see how easily computational thinking can be integrated into their classrooms.”
There were four different experiences for students: Cooking and Algorithms; Design Thinking with Spheros and Ancient Cities; Data and Flight Engineering; and Storytelling with Stop Motion. The Media Center, MakerSpace, and Tinkering Lab were literally buzzing with the sounds of drones and middle-schoolers who were highly engaged in learning. Rain, a sixth-grader, said, “It’s been awesome. Earlier, I was in design and modeling and I did drones. Now I’m working on creating a road for the Sphero to drive on.” His partner Sekai added on, “It’s fun- we get to do stuff we like, and we get to learn while we work with technology.”
One student was wearing a shirt that summed up MakerDay at Northeast Middle School perfectly: “Create the Future”. And that is exactly what these kids are doing.
(To hear more about the magnet program at Northeast and magnet programs in CMS, check out episodes 52 and 53 of the LadyTech Charmers podcast: http://ladytechcharmers.com/)