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Exploratory Learning: Social Studies Connections

This guide features information on Library MakerSpaces designed to promote creativity, curiosity, discovery and innovation.

Inventors & Inventions

TEK 1.16 Science, technology and society. The student understands how technology affects daily life, past and present. The student is expected to:
(B) Describe how technology changes communication, transportation, and recreation.
(C) Describe how technology changes the way people work.

Begin with a study of key inventors that support your TEKS. For example, Thomas Edison (electricity), Alexander Graham Bell (communication), and the Wright Brothers (transportation). 

Your makerspace could focus on 3 centers with biographies about each inventor, and challenges.

  • Electricity - include items to create a simple circuit, such as coin batteries, LED lights, and copper tape. You could also add Little Bits or Snap Circuits.
  • Communication  - challenge students to create a method of communicating, such as creating a tin can telephone or designing a device for Morse code (using Little Bits)
  • Flight - materials and books for paper airplanes.  Add an additional challenge with challenges to fly a certain distance, or carry a weight (such as 2 pennies) with them.

Engineering History with Keva Planks

TEK 8.4 History. the student understand significant political and economic issues of the revolutionary era.
(C) Explain the issues surrounding important events of the American Revolution, including declaring independence; writing the Articles of the Confederation; fighting the battles of Lexington, Concord, Saratoga, and Yorktown; enduring the winter at Valley Forge; and signing the Treaty of Paris of 1783

OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate the British defeat at Yorktown using KEVA planks.

MATERIALS: 1000 PLANKS PER GROUP

PROCEDURE:

1. After a study of the British defeat at Yorktown in 1781, tell the class that they will be making a representation of the battle.

2. Divide the class into five groups:

  • The British land forces led by Corwallis
  • The British navy
  • American land forces led by General Washington
  • French land forces led by Lafayette
  • French navy

3. On the floor of your classroom, use masking tape to mark off a rough approximation of the Yorktown Peninsula.

4. Have each group study the map and decide where to place their troops or ships. Each group will decide how to represent their troops. Tents, cannons, individual soldiers, bunkers and ships can all be represented by KEVA planks. Each group can also label their site with a small flag or just the name of the army.

5. After students have re-created the site, have each group report to the class the roles of their particular military forces in the outcome of the war. 

credit: Keva Educator's Guide

Digital Story Telling

Research/Point of View - After students have researched a topic, encourage nonfiction storytelling from a unique point of view. Narrow the focus so you are able to share the information in a meaningful way. Write the story AS IF an object,time or event was telling the story. Infuse facts. Use a story plan that has a clear dilemma, what caused it, what was tried to solve it, and a conclusion. Use a storyboard to create imagery, music, voice and edit to enhance the imagery you share with your audience. 

Examples:  

  • Write about the invasion of Pearl Harbor from the point of view of a flag flying over the base.
  • Write about the March to Washington from the point of view of John Lewis' shoe.
  • Write about the fall of the Berlin wall from the point of view of a brick.

Possible formats:

  • video
  • slide shows
  • comic strips
  • animations
  • puppetry
  • green screen
  • video game (Bloxels)

8 Steps to Great Digital Storytelling

Opposing Viewpoints - Use resources such as Gale's Opposing Viewpoints to research both sides of an issue. Create a comic strip where 2 or more characters discuss or debate the merits of each viewpoint. 

 

3D Design

Designing in 3D can be done with technology, using programs such as SketchUp Pro or Tinkercad, which can be followed by printing out items on a 3D printer. Virtual worlds can be designed with apps such as CoSpaces. Low-tech options, such as Legos, cardboard, and clay are also popular choices and can be enhance with circuitry if desired.  

Application Ideas:

Hispanic Heritage Month

Thank you to Gina Seymour for this wonderful example of how to incorporate Hispanic Heritage into the library. 
Hispanic Heritage Month in  High School library makerspace

 

Stop Motion Animation

Ideas:

  • Recreate a scene from history. Use Legos, clay, or whatever else you have on hand. Which moment will you choose? How will you communicate the impact of this moment?  Will you incorporate music or sound effects?

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