Creating, Discovering, and Exploring in the Classroom: Fall Creek Schools
Fall Creek School District in Wisconsin is a school district that strives to connect its students with technology while using 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Teachers at Fall Creek's elementary school emphasize hands-on learning in the classrooms with the use of learning tools such as Legos®, robotics, coding kits, iPads, Chromebooks, and more.
First Grade teacher, Joell Anders, struggled with organizing Legos in her classroom. A location for students to build with Legos didn't exist when students needed to use them, pieces became easily lost.
"Students would have to build on the floor or on their tables," Joell Anders said. "We were misplacing a lot of Legos. I had the Legos in two separate containers in my storage closet which I had to get out for the kids each time I wanted them to use Legos."
Just like Joell, Fall Creek Second Grade teacher Terry Anders struggled with storage and organization as well. Terry Anders uses coding kits like the coding Lego WeDo kits in his classroom for STEAM activities. Students are able to code the Lego WeDo kits by using iPads.
"Basically, I had an old overhead projector cart that had three levels to it so I would stack the WeDo kits on there, but then we had iPad's strung out between two or three classrooms with chargers in each of the rooms plugged into the wall outlets," Terry Anders said. "Or we would keep them all in the same room and rotate them on chargers or charge them in different rooms and then go get them every time we needed them."
In order to solve Terry and Joells' storage and organization problems, Fall Creek Schools partnered with Spectrum Industries to create a solution. With Terry and Joells' classroom problems as the motivation to design a new solution, Spectrum innovated the Builder Cart and the Discover Cart.
The Solution Part 1
The Builder Cart created for Joell's classroom was designed for collaboration to occur and storage of Lego's and other learning materials. The cart is height adjustable and mobile, making room-to-room mobility effortless. In addition, it features two slide-out shelves and two flip-up shelves that have magnetic-friendly surfaces due to the carts all steel frame.
"I love that the cart is mobile and that I can switch things out whenever I want to," Joell stated. "I love that I can close it up and condense it into one area. It's so nice to be able to move things pretty quickly inside of the classroom because you're limited in space. I feel that my students creativity and imagination has been enhanced giving them more opportunity instead of just having paper and pencil or an iPad to explore and be creative with the materials inside of the cart."
Joell implemented a program she created called the Daily 5 into her classroom. During the Daily 5 students form into small groups and are assigned hands-on activities that may include building with Legos or using iPad's to help problem solve. The Builder Cart provided a space for her students to build and create. Her students loved the cart so much they began to call it the "Creation Station."
"The students love the Creation Station," Joell said. "They are very engaged with the materials inside and it gives them an opportunity to be free with what they want to build and use their imagination. For students who are struggling to write their thoughts down or draw them out because of fine motor skills, this gives them an opportunity to showcase their strengths."
The Solution Part 2
The Discover Cart designed for Terry's classroom has the ability to store and charge up to 10 notebooks, Chromebooks, or tablets and transport educational robotics and coding systems (like WeDo® construction sets). The Discover Cart provided enough storage for Terry due its bottom lower shelf's ability to store 10 bins that can contain robotics and coding kits.
"The cart helps keep materials all in one place," Terry said. "The students just pop it open, play, and put it right back in and close it up. The cart provides organization and it is versatile."
The Discover Cart features a handle for easy room-to-room mobility, overhead wire management and is available with optional stacked plastic bins to organize and store learning materials.
"I think the cart teaches the kids a lot of things such as independence and organization," Terry said. "They work at the cart on their own, organize the carts, and take care of everything. It also provides a space for inter-collaboration. I think one of the keys to being a productive citizen is being able to work with other people."
The cart designs Spectrum Industries innovated for Terry and Joell successfully solved their storage and organization problems and became interactive spaces for students to collaborate.
The Builder Cart and the Discover Cart are the newest items in Spectrum's makerspace product line.
Spectrum sets the standards for quality, durability, ergonomics, and reliability, then exceeds them. From design to delivery, Spectrum is constantly innovating. We take our customers' needs seriously, giving you options for accessories and colors, and incorporating your feedback into new and improved products. We do this all without sacrificing durability, style, and functionality while keeping up with the rapidly-changing demands of new technology.
Spectrum Industries works to continually improve its products and produces furniture the can be made "right for you." For over 50 years, Spectrum has been innovating furniture that helps connect people with technology.