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King Teacher Wins $10K Grant for Workshop for Teacher Inventors

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King Teacher Wins $10K Grant for Workshop for Teacher Inventors
Posted on 10/01/2015
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Gus Goodwin, a technology education teacher at King Middle School, has won an Abundance Foundation grant of nearly $10,000 to hold a two-day professional development workshop for teachers titled “Think, Tinker & Inspire.”

The workshop will take place on Nov. 5 and 6 at the Open Bench Project, a shared learn/work facility at Thompson’s Point in Portland.

Goodwin said the workshop “will provide participants the experience of working together to design and build an invention of their own in a MakerSpace setting. They will think, plan and design as they build and problem solve together.“

Workshop participants will learn thinking routines from Agency by Design, which is a multiyear research initiative at Harvard’s Project Zero investigating the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning experiences. They’ll then apply those routines as they design and build their inventions. Goodwin said the inventions could be “Rube-Goldberg-like inventions – machines that go out of their way to be elaborate in order do something pretty simple.”

Much of the grant funding will go toward tools for teachers, Goodwin said. Each team of teachers will get $500 worth of tools to bring back to their classrooms so they can implement a MakerSpace project of their own. Part of the workshop will be about helping teachers decide what to do and what tools they will need to do it. Goodwin said the tools could include coping saws, soldering irons, cordless drills, wire cutters, hacksaws, an arduino (an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software) and any other tools teachers are interested in.

Goodwin said the participants, “will gain confidence in using tools and machines and develop skills using a variety of materials as they work in small groups, share ideas, critique projects and plan next steps.”

The workshop will be followed by Maker Educator Meet-ups throughout the school year for participants to share the successes and challenges of implementing their own Maker Projects.

Goodwin was the recipient of the Louis P. Lambert Award at the Maine Science Teachers Association Conference in October 2014. The award recognizes a teacher who inspires student achievement in science in a caring, compassionate manner, shows creative approaches in linking student learning to Maine science standards and makes continuous and enduring contributions to science education by participating in local and state initiatives, promoting science education and providing training or resources to other science teachers.