Creating, Experiments, and Celebrating: Makerspace Learning! by Sharon Mwende

April was an exciting and educational month for students during their school break. The Kenya Connect Makerspace was buzzing with activity as students participated in various guided and self-directed activities such as making and decorating airplanes, making a personal collage, and painting and repurposing items for Earth Day projects. Additionally, the interactive learning resources provided by Team4Tech’s Community of Practice made our Maker Space workshops even more engaging. 

From Crayola Creativity Week: Leaping towards Dreams, Misty Copeland’s book “Firebird” inspired students to be confident, persevere and have faith in themselves. They also learned the importance of having someone to look up to and emulate. After sharing their dreams and aspirations, students enjoyed decorating and personalizing paper airplanes while reflecting on how this activity related to their dreams. From the activity and reflection, students were able to explore the power of dreams and the journey towards achieving them.

Mia Armstrong’s book “I Am a Masterpiece” also highlighted the significance of embracing one’s unique qualities, and celebrating diversity in race, physical appearance, abilities, and more. Students created their collages using cutouts from old books and a printed portrait photograph representing their personality, likes, and strengths. They were fascinated by the fact that they could express themselves through the collage and sharing with one another which made them appreciate each other’s differences.

In our strategy to generate more interest in STEM subjects, students completed a project on making a catapult using TeachEngineering, a learning resource provided by Team4Tech. To begin, students brainstormed about catapults discussing their purpose, how they function, and how they can use locally available materials to make one. Once they had a better understanding of how catapults work, they were given rubber bands, popsicle sticks, bottle tops, and ping-pong balls to work with. Working in pairs, the students were able to create a basic catapult that they used to launch pebbles and ping pong balls, measuring how changes in applied force affected the distance traveled by the objects. They also learned new vocabulary such as force, catapult, horizontal and accuracy.