This page provides a look at projects and resources I have developed and implemented across a broad array of grade levels and making techniques. Cardboard and tape, CAD and augmented reality, needle and thread, coding and laser cutters all can have roles to play in helping students explore thinking and making skills.
Maker Course for the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express
An e-book published by Microsoft on maker projects coded with MakeCode on the Circuit Playground Express microcontroller. Includes 12 original projects, as well as chapters on coding and construction skills. Fall 2018
For my July 2020 conference presentation "Active Learning at a Distance," I built a webpage with ideas and resources for using Tinkercad for projects in all subjects.
I created this page to help teachers and families find free or cheap projects for students to do at home during quarantine.
This website has a page for every department with sample projects to inspire the faculty I work with.
Examples of using Tinkercad to design, 3D print, paper cut, and code.
“Code Your 3D Designs with Tinkercad’s New Codeblocks App”
Article on creating 2D and 3D designs with code. Oct. 29, 2018.
Article on 3D design for Ultimaker. July 16, 2018.
“St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day Maker Lab: Inspiring through innovation”
An interview with me as an Ultimaker Pioneer by Meaghan McBee. August 2017.
My Microsoft e-book on coding and making
I have created dozens of instructional videos as resources for students and teachers. Recent examples include ideas for designing stage sets in CAD for a literature or theater class, and using augmented reality as a way to present ideas and creations across the curriculum.
Instructional videos I have created
Third graders used their studies of animals' adaptations to help them create crazy critters out of cardboard. We laser cut the heads and adaptations the students drew, then added them to additional laser cut pieces. Finally, we used a Makey Makey board and Scratch to make the critters touch-interactive. When you touch a critter, a recording of the student's explanation of it plays.
Designing and creating boxes, pyramids, and other shapes supports area and volume study in math class.
Second graders studied circuits, then created a light-up solar system as they studied outer space in their core class.
Sixth graders spend a quarter learning research skills, then a quarter building a touch-interactive board game based on a topic they have researched. They code the game's interactions with Scratch and use MakeCode to create dice with microcontrollers.
Sixth graders designed and 3D printed their own ziggurats while studying ancient Mesopotamia in history class.
Second graders designed and 3D printed the dinosaurs each was studying in their core class, and then they constructed "dinoramas".
These Identity Boxes each contain an "above the surface" identity marker, two "below the surface" identity markers, a "Where I'm From" poem, a hope for the future, and a connection to the school's Global Week theme of Women, Peace, and Security.
Coding and Making Activities
Seventh grade designed and coded robots that back up in different directions when they hit an obstacle.
Fourth graders were given limited materials and no directions for constructing drawbots. They engineered their own solutions and coded paths for the robots.
Second graders made light-up cards.
This skirt has neopixel lights sewn in with conductive thread, and their behavior is coded onto a microcontroller.
Eighth graders reviewed pictures of gondolas and ski lift chairs, then designed their own gondolas. They often had to iterate their designs to make wheels work and to distribute weight. They coded the servo motor to be sound-activated.
This robot is being controlled by the accelerometer readings coded into the Micro:bit.
Eighth graders used the Snap! coding environment to create art as they practiced using key coding concepts. Both their art and code then go in a Google Sites learner's blog for explanation and reflection.
This project was a collaboration between fifth graders, who designed and 3D printed obstacles for the pinball machine surfaces, along with third graders, who attached the objects on their individual play surfaces and then coded the lights and servo motors.
This is a floating ocean colony, the arms of which were designed using code.
Here is a quick example of a game students can code and then play on an affordable gaming board. The theme of their games can relate to topics being studied or discussed elsewhere. This is a climate crisis game called "Carbon Capture."
Eighth graders utilized the light sensor on the microcontroller here to make a vehicle that backs up in randomized patterns when it meets an obstacle.
Fifth graders studied the physics of car crashes, and then they engineered crumple zone bumpers for this CO2 cartridge-powered car. The goal was to protect the passenger egg from the impact.
Seventh graders designed bike helmet lighting systems that respond to head motion to indicate turns and braking.
These are different crumple zone bumper designs by fifth graders.
Third graders studied ocean plastics in their core class. Tasked with designing something to help with the problem, they chose to invent prototypes of better trash cans.
Second graders test fired rockets without fins, and then they engineered different fin designs to help control the flight.
This is a design of a Martian colony for a project that fifth graders do after studying the needs for life on Mars.
Making, Digital Fabrication, and Design
Here's a video of mine on one way to use coding to create designs that can be ironed onto t-shirts.
This light box uses a coded light design on a microcontroller to backlight an image of Virginia Woolf that was made with a paper cutter machine.
This wall-mounted marble drop includes a servo motor coded to assist the marble.
Here is a video tutorial I made to help people learn about coding designs for 3D printing or paper cutting.
These t-shirts have designs that were coded and then ironed on.
This earring was designed with code and then laser cut.
This design was created with code, then paper cut and turned into a card.
These clocks were designed with code, and one was laser cut and the other 3D printed.
My name badge here was laser cut from acrylic and lit with a LED.
The designs for this lamp were made with code and then laser cut in wood.
These 3D prints were made partially with code and partially with a scanner that captured the person's image. They were part of a "self-portrait in 3D" club.
These shirts were made for participants in the SF Pride Parade.
This design was coded, cut out, and ironed on.
This model was coded with Codeblocks, added to with standard Tinkercad, then viewed and recorded with augmented reality.
Fifth graders were challenged to study and then design models of elements from our school's church.