Friday, October 24, 2014

Vermont Tech Jam 2014

After several hours of preparation, I led my Spooky Circuit Box challenge at the Vermont Tech Jam today, between 10:00 am and 2:30 pm!  Throughout the day, I shared the activity with close to 50 people!  Although I was exhausted by the end, and didn't have time to chat with friends who stopped by to say, "hi," I had a great time connecting with middle and high school students from a variety of schools.

Through the process of teaching origami and basic circuitry skills, I learned that a multifaceted project like this is best suited for small clusters of students- clusters of four at a time seemed to be the ideal number.  It should also be noted that I felt I had the best success when I was able to teach three people at a time and then have them teach their peers.  This would be equally true in a classroom setting.

The Generator was kind enough to provide me with two tables, so I had a smaller table set up for decorating the paper with rubber stamps.  After decorating their paper, the students completed their boxes and circuits with me, at a much larger table.

In addition to printed directions and a visual diagram of all of the steps, I also engaged in step-by-step demonstrations.

While the step-by-step demonstrations seemed to be well-received, I wish that I'd printed out more copies of the printed directions for those students (and teachers) who were deterred by a tight schedule or the crowds.

In general, I had more girls than boys stop by to make a circuit box.  While the activity itself was gender neutral, a box with bling is most definitely a hit with the ladies!

Perhaps not surprisingly, I discovered that my Mad Monster Candy Snatch Game (thanks, Make magazine) was a huge hit with both genders.  I quickly discovered that when the monster was filled with candy, swarms of students were drawn to my space.

This monster easily could have easily taken up a table of its own!