This week’s CEP 811 assignment is centered on editing and revising our Maker Experiment #1. In our first Maker Experiment, our task was to create a lesson where students use their Maker Kits (Squishy Circuits) in the classroom. In Maker Experiment #2, we are using UDL (Univeral Design for Learning) Guidelines to revise and reshape our lessons. Overall, I am excited to revisit Maker Experiment #1 and revamp it into an even more powerful lesson!
Title: Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh Faces
Time: 40 minutes
- Students will be able to create a working circuit.
- Students will be able to create a face using the Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh materials provided.
- Conductive dough
- Insulating dough
Vocabulary (these words will be taught prior to the lesson):
- Conductive: to act as a medium for conveying something such as heat or electricity.
- Insulating: to cover, line, or separate with a material that prevents or reduces the passage, transfer, or leakage of heat, electricity, or sound.
- The students will read their two objectives written on the whiteboard silently first and then all together as a class so they know from the beginning what will be expected of them to have accomplished at the end of the lesson.
- The teacher will introduce Squishy Circuits using the following YouTube video as an anticipatory set: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDZo51k2BWQ This video will help students gain an understanding of the tools they will be working with. Also, it will hopefully put their minds and anxiety at ease with working with electronics.
- The teacher will pass out the Squishy Circuits and Play-Doh to allow students to play on their own for five minutes.
- The teacher will begin with instructions for the students to create their faces using both their Squishy Circuits and Play-Doh. The instructions are as follows:
- Using the conductive dough first, roll one little piece into a ball.
- Now, roll a larger piece of conductive dough into a cylinder shape so it looks like a snake.
- Next, roll a piece of insulating dough into a cylinder shape just as big as the one you just finished.
- Wrap the insulating dough snake around the conductive dough ball.
- Then, wrap the conductive dough snake around the insulating dough snake. Make sure the two pieces of conductive dough are not touching.
- You should have two pieces of conductive dough separated by one piece of insulating dough. Also, the overall shape should be that of a round circle. If your shape does not look like this, reformat the dough with your hands.
- Using the battery pack, put the black wire into the outer ring of conductive dough, and put the red wire into the inner ring of conductive dough.
- Using Play-Doh, students can build their faces on top of their round shape as creative as they would like using any colors, styles, and formations.
- Insert the LED lights on top of the face after the face has already been made and placed on top of their round shape. Insert the LED lights so one leg of the LED is stuck in the outer conductive dough, and the other leg of the LED is stuck in the inside conductive dough.
- Have fun, and enjoy your new creation!
- The teacher will go through each direction step-by-step while walking up and down the rows monitoring students at their individual desks.
- Scaffolding will be essential with the teacher to guide students in the right direction to making their circuits successfully.
- Students will be provided with sticky notes at their desks to write down notes about what is working and what is not working in building their circuits. This will help the teacher identify students’ problems and how to help them better. Also, this will help students remain focused on their objects and motivated to complete their circuits.
- After creating their Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh faces, students will put all of their materials away and come back together as a class.
- The teacher will pair students up in groups of two and ask them to take turns explaining the thought process behind the creation of their faces and how their circuit works within their faces.
- The students will be encouraged to go into detail explaining how their circuit works and the creativity behind their Play-Doh faces.
- After partnering up, the class will reconvene and discuss whole group what was easy about using Squishy Circuits and what was difficult.
- As a whole class, the teacher will make a list with students’ help of key ideas/strategies for making a circuit, and what was learned overall will be posted in the front of the classroom for the entire class to see.
- As an assessment, students will write one paragraph explaining everything they learned about how to construct a circuit and how they created their Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh faces. The teacher will model this by providing a sample paragraph for students to know what is expected of them. Students will only be able to see the sample paragraph for one minute to avoid any copying.
- Students will display their Squishy Circuit and Play-Doh faces in the hallway outside of the classroom for other students in the school to see.
- Students who have difficulty making their circuit can be allowed more time the following day during recess where more individual attention can be provided.
Without a doubt, my revamped Maker Experiment, Maker Experiment #2, is much better and will definitely ensure student learning and success. To support UDL and revise my lesson to make it better, I added several key components. First, I added pre-teaching of the vocabulary words “conductive” and “insulating.” It is important for students to have a firm understanding of what these two words mean before they begin experimenting with the Squishy Circuits. Next, I added the teacher making a list of key ideas/strategies for making a circuit and what was learned overall and posting it in the front of the classroom. This addition would certainly help student comprehension. Next, I added scaffolding by the teacher in the middle of the lesson to limit student frustration and encourage determination. In this lesson, it is likely students will get frustrated at times if their circuit is not working, so it is imperative that the teacher is aware of this and present in order to provide encouragement. Next, I added providing sticky notes for the students at their desks to write down notes about what is working and what is not in building their circuits. This will definitely help students stay on task, and it will help the teacher identify where students are struggling so he or she can possibly stop the class, bring everyone back together, and correct some mistakes students are making. Next, I added an assessment where students can write a paragraph explaining everything they learned. In addition, the teacher will model this by showing a sample paragraph so students know what is expected of them. For shy and more reserved students, this assessment will provide another opportunity for them to express themselves. Lastly, I added an accommodation where students who are having difficulty making their circuit can be allowed more time the following day during recess where more individual attention can be provided. As a whole, I believe these additions have made my lesson much more powerful.
I already had several components of my lesson that were in support of UDL. First, I already had alternate representations of the learning objectives. Students were learning by working hands-on, watching a YouTube video, collaborating with their peers, and summarizing what they had learned as a whole class. Second, I had several accommodations already built into the lesson, but they were not explicitly stated in my original Maker Experiment #1. An example of this is scaffolding. It is crucial for the teacher to encourage students throughout this lesson and limit frustration as much as possible. When working with electronics, students can definitely become anxious and agitated, so the teacher must combat this with help and support. I made sure to add this into my Maker Experiment #2. In conclusion, UDL Guidelines are very important and helpful to creating a great lesson plan.
CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.