Our primary goal for last night's event was to showcase student work. I'm all about getting the most out of events though, and I wanted this to be a major public relations event; a recruitment event; and a showcase event. I wanted parents, students, and siblings to walk away feeling glad that they are in our cluster, proud to be in our classes, and eager to sign up. Mission accomplished: We had several elementary aged students exclaiming, "I love this place", "I can't wait to come here". They were happy and engaged with several fun, and age appropriate activities. Parents were amazed with their kids, thanking us for showing them what they've been up to, and students were very proud to be there. They loved showing their robots, projects and games to others.
Showcasing Student Work
Each teacher was given an area of our media center to display student work. It was up to them to decide HOW the work would be presented. Computers were utilized for student created games and websites. We utilized display boards to showcase fashion marketing projects, and picture collages. Our Computing in the Modern World students had several Lego robots; some programmed to follow a line, others doing spin art. Students who competed in the Science Fair and the GA Tech Alice competitions received special recognition for their work. Our video broadcasting students did a compilation of their best episodes this school year and had this loop on the large screens in our media center. In engineering we had bridge demonstrations, drawings, model rockets, and mouse trap cars. Our robotics team was present with Vex robotics demonstrations.
Because recruitment is always in the back of my mind, each teacher was tasked with having an activity that was appropriate for elementary and middle aged students. The kids had a blast!
Elementary and preschool students decoding pictures.
~Lego Spin Art - Students created very colorful pictures using Lego robots.
~Flowchart hop-scotch - Using a coin to flip and a dice to roll, navigate through a if statement flowchart and complete the tasks along the way. So if the coin is heads the path might have them hop on one foot, but if it is tails, they would do a jumping jack. After these activities (after the if statement concluded) they might say "Howdy".
~Picture Decoding - An activity from CS Unplugged, students are given sequences of numbers to represent lengths of black and white pixels.
~Dress Your baseball player - Children created their own baseball teams uniform.
~Robotics demonstrations - Some were allowed to drive our VEX robots.
~Games - Everyone was able to tryout our games.
Next year, we plan to have a completion card for students to get a stamp for each activity, and then a prize once they've filled up their card. We will also work with the teachers at our cluster schools to give students incentives for attending. For example, at my child's school in order to get an E in music you need to do something extra, for example they can play a piano piece for their class, and in PE they can belong to a PE club, such as running club. So, maybe they can get credit in an area for attending and participating in the Tech Fair.
In addition to the changes to improve the involvement of younger folks, we are looking at how else we can improve our Tech Fair. One big area that we can easily improve is planning. The idea of a Tech Fair didn't come until a few months ago, so we did not have a lot of time to plan and bring everything together. With advanced notice, we will be on our school calendar, and our teachers will be able to begin compiling student work much earlier. Student could be asked to put together a portfolio of their work to put on display, and this would take a lot of the preparation off the shoulders on the teachers who spent hours pulling the projects all together.
We are also looking at the possibility of holding a cluster wide Tech Fair, to include work from our 2 middle schools and 4 elementary schools. This would increase the awareness in our community as well as draw a lot more students to our event.
What Have You Done?
Please share with us your experiences with your own Tech Fair, or how you have showcased your student work. We would love to hear your ideas and benefit from your successes.