ITEC Innovation Lab – Designing Maker Activities for the Middle School Science Classroom

At Kennesaw State University, the Bagwell College of Education opened an ITEC Innovation Lab (ILL) in 2018. As coordinator for the ILL, I collaborate with faculty on the design of maker activities (MA) that align with course objectives to support K12 grade level, content area standards. 

In working with a science methods course instructor, I was charged with designing MA that align to middle school Next Generation Science Standards.  In collaboration with the instructor, the following standard was selected:

MS-ESS1-1. Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.

Based on a systems approach, I designed a maker experience that included a variety of activities to support the observation of cyclic patterns of eclipses.  In designing MA, I always look to the Merge Cube as it provides great opportunities for incorporating augmented reality (AR) experiences in K12 classrooms. For this session, the Merge Cube AR platform provides a 3D view of the solar system, and therefore supports the crosscutting concepts of patterns of scale, systems and system models. In designing performance expectations, space systems was the focus to provide evidence of Earth�s relation to the solar system.

As coordinator, I am responsible for modeling best practices for integrating technology to support the varied learning styles of K12 learners. By providing multi-media options from hands on making to learning and making via AR, candidates learn ways to support learners through a personalized learning experience.  Aligning to the Nextgeneration Science standard, I designed activities that included a center with the #Mergecube and ipads running the Galactic Explorer app for students to explore
lesson plans:  Mission from Nasa and Planets of our Solar System.
Hold the solar system in the palm of your hand! Make learning fun with with Galactic Explorer, an out-of-this-world educational game for the #MERGECube!
� MERGE (@MergeVR) December 11, 2017
I borrowed a great idea from my colleague, Nisa Peek, and setup a 3Doodler station to create 3D moon phase bookmarks.
The third station included a variety of materials and iPads with the Stop Motion Studio app for candidates to produce videos showing their understanding of lunar eclipses.

 With all IIL sessions, I bring literacy into the mix by showcasing fiction and non-fiction books that tie to the session focus, as well as books on innovation and creativity.



Candidates demonstrated their proficiency through their experiences using the Merge Cube with the Galactic Explorer AR app, and created video models to demonstrate an understanding of the core ideas. Upon completion of the session, candidates were given a survey and asked how they envision using one of the maker activities and integrating into one of their lessons with K12 students.  One candidate’s response:

�The merge cubes are beneficial to science learners in which the students can see science come to life.�
The next iteration of this session will include candidates creating lunar eclipses for the Merge Cube using apps like Tinkercad or CoSpaces Edu.