A Betabox Case Study:
Finding New Ways to Integrate Project Based Learning at Saint Timothy’s School
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Saint Timothy’s School was our very first K-12 Betabox event. The week at the school was sponsored by a VP at Novozymes, whose son attended the school. We arrived at Saint Timothy’s on Monday morning, ready to spend a week with children grades pre-K through 5th.
Our team of facilitators were immediately refreshed by the energetic and original perspectives that the students brought to Betabox. We taught every single class how to use the technology in Betabox, and every student got a chance to try using the Laser Cutter, the 3D Printer, the 3D scanner, the 3Doodler, and more. The one tool that the students especially enjoyed learning about were the LittleBits: Small electronic components that snapped together with magnets to create complete circuits like a functioning fan, a touch sensitive LED, and a voice-activated servo motor.
Our Betabox team worked with teachers at Saint Timothy’s in the weeks leading up to the event in order to integrate the Betabox technology with the Math class, the Science class, and the History class.
“With project-based learning, the recognition that students have the power to create change is one that has shown true. They realize the potential of their own thinking, and that’s a powerful thing.” Tim Coleman, Head of Middle School
In the Math class, students divided up into teams of 4 or 5 and had begun working on a scale model of a city layout. The key component of each city was a featured landmark that the students chose as the highlight of their city. Some of these landmarks included a tower, a castle, a forest, a water plant, or a skyscraper. The students worked with Betabox Facilitators to develop and 3D print each of these landmarks, and craft models of their entire city layout, with streets, roads, neighborhoods, buildings, and natural landscapes.
Possibly the most engaging project that students did within BetaBox was applying Design Thinking to the the creation of a Learning Garden. Students led the charge through the Design Thinking Process, starting with Empathy interviews of their fellow classmates. After understanding empathy, the students moved on to define and redefine the problems they learned about throughout their interviews. They went on to prototype solutions to these problems and created dozens of ideas for the construction of their new Learning Garden.
At the end of the week, the entire school was delighted with their hands-on experiences learning about Design Thinking in Betabox. One student in particular said that in their five years at Saint Timothy’s, Betabox was the most fun that they’d every had at school. And she wasn’t alone: Teachers and administrators were equally thrilled to have Betabox at the school, and agreed to move forward with a permanent makerspace at the school.
“The value that Betabox brought to the school was different than the value we thought it would have. We knew it would be exciting for the children to be exposed to tech they hadn’t seen before, however the benefits were many, many more.
We saw children involved in group work, engaging with each other, problem solving, living out project based learning, living out the process of design, and really looking at the school with new eyes.”Allison Gammage, Head of Lower School