February 24, 2014
At the February 7th District-wide professional day, some 40 educators chose to take part in a “learning by doing” Maker Day experience to activate their creative imaginations and tap into their tinkering skills.
In true maker style, the half-day event challenged small groups to collaborate on inventing a prototype to assist homeless citizens with their needs for shelter, warmth, mobility, personal security, nutrition, hygiene or social connections. The prototype could address any one of these needs, or a combination of them at once.
Using the basic tools and resources provided, the groups created a number of purposeful prototypes including two transportable shelters (one even had a special place for a pet) and a mobile shower/clothes washing and washroom facility. A mock-up design for a parking metre featured a sensory grid so that if a homeless person wanted family to know they were safe, they could put their palm on the metre to relay a communication to their family. The idea included an electrically activated thermal capacity for a blanket to be wrapped around the metre and warmed.
This inventive professional development event also featured presentations by Vancouver Mini-Maker Faire and an introduction to the book Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager.
With their own Maker Day experience under their tool belt, the educators who participated in this professional development option are now equipped to help spread maker-inspired project-based learning possibilities back to their schools.