Day 83: Making Paper Cannons

Monday, 4 January 2015 2016


Day 1 of JanTerm, where I’m teaching “Making & DIY Culture”. Here’s our syllabus (too exhausted to reflect on the day right now):

Course Description

Making & DIY Culture has two components: 1) making projects of interest to the students in the course and 2) learning about maker culture through time.

This class is for students in grades 9 and 10. At the start, students may choose from self-directed or teacher-led courses of study. In the self-directed version, students choose one to three projects to work on and decide with the teacher how and when these projects will be presented to the class and possibly the school community.

For students on the teacher-led course of study, projects will be taught by the teacher and could include the 4x4x4 LED Cube, an automated garden irrigation system, a cigarbox electric guitar, or a leaf blower hovercraft.

Learning Outcomes

  • Everyone will know how to safely operate these tools: drill, saw, screwdriver, hammer, knife, Dremel tool, pliers, wire cutter, staple gun, wrench, clamps
  • Soldering
  • Basic DC circuits
  • Understand the basic capabilities of Arduino microcontrollers plus LEDs, sensors, and motors
  • Sizing common lumber pieces and hardware (bolts, screws, nails)
  • Engage in process of repurposing materials (thinking outside the box)


Students will be assessed in three equally-weighted categories: 1) Mindset, 2) Projects, and 3) Reflections.


We’re defining the Maker Mindset on two articles from “What is ‘Maker Culture’ and How Can You Put it to Work?” Forbes Magazine & “How to Think Like a Maker” Wired Magazine

  • Be Open
  • Embrace Imperfection
  • Love the Process
  • Build Community

We’ll build additional class norms at the outset together as a community.

Students will show evidence of their developing Maker Mindsets several ways: through the reflection homework assignments, through peer feedback (such as “Meg spent an hour yesterday helping me solder those tiny NeoPixels.”), and through teacher observation. The final mindset grade is the combination of all three.


Each project has its own rubric. We expect most project work to be completed in class.


This could be homework or in-class work.

  • Electronic housed in Schoology Portfolio
  • On videos or articles we assign
  • On project work
  • On fieldtrips/speakers
  • On class norms/mindset

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s