Makerspace: Strengthening Vocabulary

August 31, 2015

At the very end of the 2015-2016 academic year Madame Giron’s 5th grade French classes made claymation videos to practice transportation vocabulary.  In the videos, a clay character (or two) travels to France on vacation and uses multiple modes of transport, including car, plane, boat, bicycle and even a flying car!  Students worked in groups to create a segment of claymation video for each mode of transport.

To make a segment of claymation video,  students had to find images for the backgrounds that were not only accurate for the place (France), but also worked for the scene,  Then they had to create the clay character(s) and the mode of transportation out of clay.  Each class had different characters, locations and modes of transportation but used the same character model throughout their movie. Then they had to move the characters and vehicles on a narrow stage to act out the story, but they only move them a tiny little bit at a time, and photograph each movement.  Each photograph represents a small fraction of a second of video, so the students took between 50 and 90 photographs for each 1-2 second segment!

Makerspace Those photos were put into iMovie, the French dialogue sound track was recorded, and it was edited into a video.  Not only did students learn and practice their French transportation vocabulary, but they wrote it into first person dialogue, and learned how to make a claymation video. One class video can be viewed online.

MakerspaceAlso at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, first graders used the 3D printer to create solid models using 3D shapes they were learning about in math.  Students were learning about spheres, cylinders, cubes and different kinds of prisms and pyramids.  To practice the names of these shapes, students used TinkerCAD to create a complex object using up to three shapes.  Those objects were then printed on the 3D printer and students described which shapes they used to create their object.  Students not only learned their math vocabulary, they learned how to create solid models using a computer, and how to make complex objects from simple shapes.  Each student took home the object they created.

The makerspace is not only a great place to learn about engineering and science, but it is also a place to strengthen vocabulary, storytelling and presentation skills!

Tricia Finkle
STEAM Enrichment Instructor & Makerspace Director