My students spend the majority of their time at the Makerspace during Guided Math time. The makerspace provides my students with another kinesthetic opportunity to showcase their learning! In this post I'm sharing some of the most commonly asked questions about our Makerspace during Guided Math time!
I have an hour for my math block each day. The first five minutes is a quick overview of what we are doing at each center & expectation reminders- not a guided math lesson! The last 5 minutes is clean up because...well....we really need to clean up! :-)
Each center rotation lasts around 10 minutes. My students are grouped based on ability from a pretest that we take at the beginning of each unit. I have around 5 students in each group. My lessons during teacher time differ depending on what each group needs. If you are interested in any of my guided math products you can check them out here.
The challenges that my students work on are directly related to our math curriculum. I created both task cards and full design briefs for my students to use. Here are some student examples of some makerspace projects! As you can see, some creations get taken home, while others are created using blocks, Legos, or K'nex. These materials don't go home, however we do take a picture of our hard work before putting the building materials away!
You already know that my students spend ten wonderful minutes each day here (they BEG for more), but how much time is given for students to complete a specific makerspace project? Well- it honestly depends!!! My students spend their first day of a new makerspace project ONLY planning. It's incredibly important for students to spend time thinking of the criteria they need to meet, the materials they might use, and develop a solid plan of action! It saves time and resources in the long run! My students typically finish one project a week, but again this will differ depending on your students and the makerspace challenge!
My students are done with their makerspace projects! Now what? Here are some ideas for how you can get your students to reflect and share their latest creations! When reflecting I have my students explain what they are most proud of, what was challenging, any surprises they had, and how they had to redesign.
Student Job: Makerspace Monitor
Have one student in each guided math group be a Makerspace Monitor. They can help remind students in their group to clean up and put their projects away. Nothing is worse than having one of your sweet kiddos upset because they left their project out and someone recycled it because they thought it was scraps! :-( They can also help you keep track of what supplies you might need to restock on. I send requests for donations out in my weekly emails and keep my fingers crossed!
Visual Schedule for Center Rotation
Our visual schedule helps all my students stay on track and rotate more quickly. Even if we are doing the same routine for three weeks, we can all have those days where we forget where we are going next!
I use the timer on my phone EVERY DAY! Having a timer on the board can help students begin their work quickly and help them stay on task. They don't want to waste a minute at the Makerspace!
I don't use class dojo for individual students, but rather for a whole class incentive. My students choose a Fun Friday activity they want to earn and work towards earning 40 points by Friday. They earn points for staying on task, working together, and noise level (they can also lose points for similar things). IT IS A GAME CHANGER FOR SMALL GROUP INSTRUCTION. I don't have to stop everyone to talk about a center expectation or clap to say that it's too loud. The app is connected to my phone so I just give/take away points. There is a specific sound for earning/losing a point and it will show why they earned/lost one on the screen. It is perfect!
Don't Stress the Mess!
Makerspaces are messy!!! Learning is messy! It is completely NORMAL and OKAY for your makerspace to look like a disaster zone during guided math time. My students spend the last five minutes cleaning up together. We put the timer on the board and work together as a classroom family. If we finish before the time is up we earn a quick brain break!
I hope this blog post was helpful! Please let me know if you have any other questions about how we use our Makerspace during Guided Math in the comments below!