May 2017

It’s the last month of school which means my last monthly post for my MakerSpace.  I will be adding items throughout the summer in the other parts of this website (Lit Tie Ins, Tech, etc.) and will look forward to adding new monthly MakerSpace ideas in August.

Here’s what’s on deck this month:

  1. Make Your Own Maracas: This activity was inspired from many amazing examples I found online by doing a simple search for “plastic egg maracas.”  I did find one I particularly liked at the blog Made Everyday: Make Easter Egg Maracas.  It’s a fun and easy craft that works perfectly this time of year as many families will have plastic eggs from Easter they can donate.  I did put out a direction sheet for the students to follow. Click here to download that direction sheet or use the directions below.
    • Step 1: Get Materials
      • You need:
        • 1 plastic egg
        • 2 plastic spoons
        • Tape
        • Rice or beans
    •  Step 2: Directions
      • Fill the bottom of the plastic egg with rice or beansrice in eggs
        • Please fill the egg in the rice bin to stop spills.
        • ONLY fill the egg half way.
      •  Shut the egg carefully.
      • Put the egg inside the two plastic spoons.
      • Tape the spoons and egg together.maracas
    • Thoughts: I’m not going to lie, the kids absolutely LOVED this craft.  From the youngest kindergartner to the oldest 5th graders, this area of the MakerSpace was the most crowded and all a buzz.  The kids were just so excited to make them and then dance around as they shook them.  It was so great.  However, I also cannot lie when I say that this was a messier MakerSpace endeavor.  I used rice because it was a lot cheaper than beans, but the rice was messy.  I made sure to vacuum everyday to keep my custodians happy.   Beans would have been better, but they were more expensive and the kids went through the supplies for the maracas within 3 days.  I later saw that you could use popcorn kernels so that might be a better route that is still relatively inexpensive
    • Thoughts: Tie this with Cinco de Mayo and have books and information sheets for the students to look at and read.  I loved how many times I was asked, “Why are we making these?”  It was an easy tie in to discuss not only Cinco de Mayo, but other holidays celebrated around the world.pic 6
  2. Noodle, Noodle, Noodle Fun: This idea came from two great blogs Little Bins for Little Hands Pool Noodle Structures and Kidspot.  Its an easy and inexpensive way for your kids to be creative and see how everyday objects can be used in different ways.  Basically you take a few of the pool noodles that are only $1 at your local dollar store right around this time, cut them into slices, half slices or quarter slices, put them out with toothpicks and let your kids build.  You can guide them to build animals or specific things or just let them free build.  I put my supplies out with an idea sheet. Click here to download that sheet.

    pic 1

    • Thoughts: This particular activity was a little slower to get going.  I think the kids had a hard time envisioning what to do.  They wanted to know what to specifically make and had a hard time realizing it didn’t have to “be” anything.  It could just be a crazy structure.  We crossed a bridge when a couple second graders were creating and one made an amazing train and the other made just a structure.  Another student said, “Oh, it can be something or anything!” to which the creators said, “Yes!”  From that point on I had many designs, some of which were specific things (stegosaurus) and others w
  3. Design a  Straw Rocket: My students love when they make things that move.  With this in mind, I decided to find some type of activity where the kids could make a flying device and also be able to critically think about why it moves and how it moves.  The website Buggy and Buddy Straw Rockets had exactly what I was looking for.  Students use straws and their own “wind energy” to propel their paper rocket into the air.  The directions are listed below or you can click here to download them.
    • Step 1: Get the Materials
      • You need:
        • 1 short, wider straw
        • 1 long, skinnier straw
        • Tape
        • 1 paper rocket (click here for template from Buggy and Buddy)
    • Step 2: Directions
      • Cut out and decorate a paper rocket.
      • Cut the short, wider straw to fit the length of the rocket and tape one end shut.


      • Attach the taped straw to the back of the paper rocket so the sealed end is at the top.
      • Put the longer, skinnier straw into the straw that is taped to the rocket.
      • Give the longer straw a big puff and see how far it flies!
    • Step 3: What if…
      • What happens if you shoot your rocket straight up?
      • Does the rocket go farther depending on the angle of your straw?
      • Does the rocket go farther if you blow harder or softer?
      • Does it matter if your rocket faces up to the sky or down to the ground?rocket.png
    • Thoughts: The kids had a lot of fun making this and were truly amazed when the rocket “flew” off the straw.  There were a lot of oohs and aahs.  I will say, the students struggled with the direction where you need to tape the end of the shorter, wider straw in order to seal it (creates the rocket push).  It says to do so in the directions, but I had to show many students, especially younger ones) this step.  Good news, though… once you show one, he/she is happy to show everyone else!
    • Thoughts: I used just plain copy paper because that was easy, but if you use heavier card stock for the rockets, they do fly a bit better.

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