Page 12 - FIS World
P. 12

Bringing hands-on learning to FIS
Too often learning is a spectator sport with students watching the players, teachers, from their desks, and learning through listening and watching. The FIS Primary and Elementary Schools are combating that tendency by introducing Makerspaces – physical locations where students come together to problem-solve in a hands-on, structured, collaborative environment – as part of their Strategic Plans.
“This is not a spectator sport,” said Elementary School Principal Peter Baker, about his division’s Makerspace. “Our students get their hands dirty. It’s exciting learning.” Caroline Joslin-Callahan, Primary School Principal, said of her divison’s Makerspace, “Our Makerspace is a structured environment that encourages students to actively problem solve.” She added that students’ creativity  ourishes with the guidance of skilled teachers, collaboration among students, and open-ended problem solving.
Collaboration between teachers and the Makerspace Coordinator is equally critical. Tianna Loe er serves as both the ICT and Makerspace Coordinator at the Primary School. “I work directly with the teachers to  nd opportunities to use our Makerspace to teach the established curriculum. The Unit of Inquiry in Grade 1 was recently a building
and architectural unit. Students spent time
in the Makerspace actually
designing and building
their own structures such
as a bridge.”
Building a bridge takes more than just superior problem solving skills and thoughtful
teacher- guidance. It requires materials.
An attractive aspect of the Makerspaces is that over 80% of the materials are donated and “upcycled.” Teachers, parents and students have contributed fabric, plastic, electrical circuits, wine corks, paper towel rolls, and countless other items that are given a second purpose (upcycled) as teaching materials.
Students’ enthusiasm soars when given these items to handle, shape, glue, tear, cut, and sometimes break. Their creativity thrives when they are given
a set task within parameters and wise
guidance from their teachers. According to Ms. Loe er, she and the classroom teacher begin by giving the students a task. “We brainstorm and problem solve together,” she said. “There is a cycle. We investigate the problem and design a solution.
10 FIS World February 2017

   10   11   12   13   14