Math and the Makerspace Bring Dime Day Back to Orchard

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It was another successful year for Dime Day–and the return after a two-year hiatus! Aside from the obvious Carnival-like atmosphere with games and happy faces, this event has weeks of thought and preparation behind the scenes. 
Fourth-grade students start by discussing carnivals, minute-to-win-it challenges, and backyard parties they've been to. They recall the quick $5 spent at King's Island or 6 flags on the impossible ring toss or the basketball hoops so small Steph Curry would struggle. This early discussion starts a brainstorming frenzy of what-ifs. And so begins the Engineering-Design Process critical to how students learn at The Orchard School. 
Who is our audience and what would they like to play? What ideas are the best and match my interests? How can I get that idea in my head out onto paper or a prototype? What type of research do I need to do? What materials are we allowed to use? How much time do we have? What the heck is a scroll saw?
All of these questions, and more, get answered during Dime Day. 
Logistically speaking, Dime Day is a 4-week design process that includes a Carnival and lots of problem-solving along the way. The building phase is notably the most unique part of the experience. Students get to spend a week in the Makerspace taking their idea and making it tangible. This includes countless math problems/skills such as measuring/marking, finding the midpoint, the four operations, etc. There are alignment issues, physics concepts to consider (will this glue actually hold?), and even the sequence of assembly matters. 
Students used many different tools in the Orchard Makerspace: scroll saw, band saw, handsaws, jigsaw, rasp, dremel, glue gun, drill/driver, drill press, speed square, protractor, tape measure, pliers, wrenches, sander, screwdrivers, compass, calipers, etc. The list of math concepts is through the roof!
Throughout the entire process, perhaps the best skill is simply the understanding that new competencies lead to growth. The risk-taking and overcoming of obstacles build a sense of resiliency and can-do attitudes that align perfectly with our mission. It's Progressive education at its finest! 
And to cap things off, students have decided to donate all of the money raised to our furry friends at the Indy Humane Society. Early dime counting is nearing the thousand dollar mark. Stay tuned for the final number and way to go, Orchard fourth graders!

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