Educator Kyle Wright brings his great students from Oak Grove Middle School in Pinellas County, to Gulf Coast MakerCon this year. Long successful with their FIRST LEGO League program, Oak Grove is expanding their project based learning to include more maker-style programming. With a little help from his students, Kyle told us more about what Oak Grove students are doing and what they’re bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.
GCMC: Who are and what do you make?
OGMS: We are some kids from Oak Grove Middle School that happen to take one of the classes that meets in the tech lab. We aren’t really sure what you call the class but it’s fun. The teacher is a bit crazy but he somehow gets really cool toys for us to play with. We have more Legos then imaginable, a couple of new 3D printers, and rumors of a wood shop coming next year. Every kid gets his own computer and we just started working with 3D design.
GCMC: Why do you make it?
OGMS: It’s fun. The things we make in class are better than any test we have ever passed and it’s usually too cool to leave hanging on the refrigerator.
GCMC: Why do you think it’s important or worth doing?
OGMS: Kids have an amazing sense of imagination. They also have a variety of skills that aren’t appreciated in traditional classrooms. Putting these together with a little bit of freedom let’s them create/do what they want. As the excitement grows and the effort progresses, core subject concepts start coming into play more. Then, they start to see the big picture. Not all of them do, but I have seen more lights come on teaching an elective than I ever did teaching US History.
GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?
OGMS: We should have some robots ready for an upcoming competition. Hopefully they will be working.
We should have some robots ready for an upcoming competition. Hopefully they will be working. We also made a table of some sort that our teacher found along the side of the road. We did some drawings, took some measurements, scaled the views on some CAD software and then got some 2×4’s and made replicas. Watching some of these kids using a hammer for the first time was really fun.
GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your booth?
OGMS: We might try to bring some laptops and let some people mess around with some of the software we use if they are interested. If we have some Sumo Bots ready for fighting by then we will bring them. If we can keep the students from leaving to look at all the other cool stuff, you can talk to them. Whatever you do, don’t sit on the tables we made. Trust me, this is more for your safety than anything.
GCMC: Why should folks come out to a maker festival?
OGMS: You will see at least one thing you never imagined or thought of and be inspired to believe in possibilities and people.
GCMC: What’s so great about making stuff?
OGMS: When a project is finished and things finally came together as planed, an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction exists. There really isn’t any other way to get this besides creating. Knowing that this “thing” was made by you really adds that personal touch of appreciation. This is why we love to share it with others.
We’re glad you and the students of Oak Grove Middle School are sharing what they make with us at Gulf Coast MakerCon! Come out and see them and all our other great Young Makers on April 18th in our Young Makers Corner and see our future in action!