I'm Sam Patterson and Welcome to MyPaperless Classroom, this is part 3 of a 3 part discussion of my Makerspace curriculum. What follows is a grade by grade description of our plan for skill building and design thinking work in inquiry and innovation time grades Pre K through sixth grade.

IN the description of the video you should find time markers for each of those grades. So feel free to listen to all of it, it is about 10 minutes long, or just fast forward to the parts you need. Thanks for learning with me, I look forward to hearing what you are doing in your classroom.

Curriculum School's in: Kicking Assignments and Learning Names

It always comes down to “What do you DO in maker class?” WE have an amazing year planned and I will give you a highlight's reel of what we are looking forward to, from where we will start in each grade to what may become out Design Thinking focus later in the year.

Pre K

In PreK we have a 60 minute classes focused on lots of building and play. Daily fun with reflection practice. Some of PreK's key topics include Seasons, Friendship, Fire safety, Peace, Fantasy animals where they design and create their own animal.

Here at the beginning of our Design Thinking journey we might use their Transportation unit to have them design a vehicle for a specific user. Last year they had some success with a “Keep the bunnies out of the garden” challenge based on a story book, I don't think it was Beatrix Potter


There are so many exciting things to learn and do in the Makerspace/SPTEAM lab with Kindergarten.

The place we are beginning is simple making, all paper-based the first few days. The first day we made paper airplanes, the second week we will be designing paper boats to help characters in a story, and the following week we are going to build bridges with the billy goats gruff.

Then we are going to move into sewing. The sewing will begin with simple shapes that are already cut out and move from there to pattern work. This will all be hand sewing at this point.

As we move through the year we will be using some storybook based lessons for some DT work, you adopt “users” from the storybooks.

Also looking to build sewing skills in order to sew puppets , possibly from stories


The first graders had a great first day building airplanes, and their reflections were awesome. They wrote a bit and drew a picture. First grade has a project they did last year, in which each student created a panel of an electric quilt. (felt panels with LEDs). They also have a house build in November, and a desert habitat project. These existing projects are going to become the foundation upon which we build the design thinking lessons.

With the house build in November, we will be developing our building skills. Measuring, cutting, joining. We will be working with paper and cardboard first.


My second graders are all action/ reaction, engineers of chaos, and celebrators of all stages of life.

We begin with the engineering of dreams, questing after flight. From paper airplanes to ballon design connecting to the story Around the World in 80 days

Our key words in the development file are: Maps measurement and minecraft

Lifecycle stopmotion

Butterfly time lapse

Chicken cam

Habitat construction

Marble run

Rube Goldberg machines (intro to systems)

Our Top contenders design thinking include the Around the world in 80 days flight challenge, or the Animal habitat design project, and the Rube Goldberg- a machine that does something.


Third Grade is going to focus on building skills, measuring, cutting, and creating strong joints with cardboard.

They did well with the Paper Airplane construction, and next round should be simple and small scale cardboard building. It might be a model or a small game.

Over the weeks we will develop our “advanced building techniques.”

There are some great Design Thinking possibilities including the California history project, The Cardboard arcade, magnetic houses and the Frindle dictionary project.



The full court press for technical reading and writing begins in earnest in fourth grade. Our first project is to develop resources for learning with Circuit blocks. Where we are starting Circuits with Circuit blocks, and then moving into LittleBits and moving into Scratch and Makey Makey.

DT opportunities include the Gold Rush game, James and the Giant peach house design, animals and eco systems, Animal adaptations and animal construction could support choice from a menu (felting, recycled material, clay model).

As far as skills I want them to be scratch/ makey makey independent by spring, other systems will serve this.

Wouldn't it be great if the kids decided to sew a piano?

5th and 6th

Both 5th and 6th grade will be starting with circuits and moving quickly into programming and makey makey. This curriculum will not be the same year over year, it will be progressive, and I am starting at the point of biggest transformation or impact. Simple circuit work and an introduction to Makey Makey SHOULD get the whole group building cool and functional things fast.

The idea is to run 3 skill building classes, focused on a specific tool and the basics (circuit blocks, little bits, makey makey) and then on the fourth class provide a challenge and let them choose how they are responding to the challenge and which tools they feel like using.

5th   grade has some existing projects that could be brought into DT, in our discussion there was a need for more advanced building tips and tricks and how to construct with cardboard.

5th grade is also a great spot to have the kids build tutorial videos as they figure stuff out: this will require studying tutorial videos and figuring out what makes for a good one.

Also we will be learning about universal access standards to make sure our videos are captioned and enjoyable by everyone.

In our meetings I told the 6th grade team that they had it the toughest. The reality was that even though we are doing our best to focus on process over product, 6th grade is the last grade in our school, the process is clearly ending.

Both the 5th and 6th grade students made some great video reflections with very little direction or support, and this was set up as a “station” in the classroom.