ARMONK, N.Y. -- Back in the day, if your 6-year-old brought home something he or she made at school, it was likely to be a lopsided candy dish or birdhouse covered with dried macaroni and glitter.
But now the treasured object could be anything from hi-tech, to low-tech, to anything in between such as a teddy bear bed to a tiny tickle machine to a dragonfly that balances on a finger.
A lucky handful of second-graders at Coman Hill Elementary School in Armonk are chosen by lottery to participate in a Makers’ Club, a lunch-period program that was launched in 2014.
The club’s mission is to give kids a safe and non-judgmental environment in which to explore STEAM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives in the hopes that innovative ideas and projects will emerge from work with building materials, circuitry, textiles, and re-usable stuff.
The club meets on Fridays from March 10 to April 28.
Five boys and five girls will be chosen to participate in each of the club’s three “sessions.”
Permission slips, which will be used to draw participants’ names, are due at the Byram Hills Central School’s District’s offices by Friday, March 3.
The club’s weekly challenge includes creating something that spins, balances, moves, makes a noise or can be given as a gift.
The stations where children can choose to work are work bench, KIBO robot, Tinker Toys, K’Nex and Little Bits circuitry.
Club members often come up with their own projects, which means they can use any material they choose, including textiles, wood, cardboard, simple motors, art supplies or, even, sounds.
At the end of the session, the children get together to reflect and to share information about what worked and what didn’t.
There are “no mistakes,” in the club, only “discoveries and opportunities to learn,” the school says.
The materials the children use are supplied through a Byram Hills Education Foundation grant.
“This is a risk-free opportunity for the children to try to do something without worrying that there is a right or wrong way,” said librarian Jane del Villar, who, in 2015 was overseeing the club with teacher Ronni Levine. “The children start to learn that nothing is going to come out absolutely right the first time.”
(Del Villar was quoted in "Spectrum," the school district’s newsletter)