For the last 6 weeks we have been working with Chisenhale Primary School and their year 5’s as they all set about making their own DIY Speaker kits. Chisenhale Primary and Allen Gross are one of our ambassador schools and teachers as they look at exciting new ways to embed our kits into the curriculum to as a resource for teaching their students skills needed for the 21st century in cross curricular project based learning.
We started by learning about all of the components that go into a amplifier and what they do before bringing soldering into the classroom, something that hadn’t been done before at Chisenhale but something that the young people were super excited about.
Soldering with 42 ten year olds simultaneously was always going to be hectic and require a lot of management, but it did allow a whole year group to embark upon a learning journey together, which was well worth the extra effort. Such rigorous classroom testing, monitoring and feedback from the students and teachers provided valuable information on how to improve the kit to make it even easier for younger people to make with success. As a result of this, we now have a brand new re-developed DIY Speaker that not only sounds better, but provides a better making experience for novice solderers.
Following the soldering of the amplifier, the young people then experimented with the science of sound with the exciter outside in the park. Using waste materials brought in from home and collected from around the school, they concluded which ones created the best sounds and why. This opened a discussion on re-use and recycling of materials, creating strong links to geography.
With their chosen material selected, they then started designing their casing. They considered where would their speaker live; would it be in their bedroom, in the kitchen or collapsable to fit in their bag so they could take it to the park.
Once they had decided where it would live and what problem it would solve, they then thought about aesthetics, how it should look and how to bring their unique personality to it. Solutions covered everything from elephants to Minecraft characters, flowers to faces, with each child designing something that really reflected their interests and personality.
Once the design was complete they then got to make. This was done over a period of 2 weeks from building the casing and fitting in the amp to decorating the outside. They then named and branded their speaker before making a presentation about their journey and what they had learned.
Alongside the obvious making and creating of the speaker, the classes explored the project across the breadth of the curriculum, encompasing creative and persuasive writing exercises, researching the art of Andy Warhol, art and design techniques, ITC presentations, public speaking and of course learning about the science of sound.
The whole 6 weeks culminated in a school hall take over for one giant show and tell. The whole of the school along with families were invited to celebrate the amazing learning journey that had taken place as the year 5’s presented their speakers to all. It was a fantastic end to a great project and amazing to see how far they had come, not only in technical skills and understanding, but in their confidence and independence as learners as a whole.
Their headteacher Helen James talks about the project from her perspective and what change she saw in the students:
To see more images form the project take a look at flickr set here!