We had the amazing opportunity to work with the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries for the second phase of the IMLS Maker Literacies project. For our part, three of our faculty at Lawrence University who were interested in using the makerspace with their courses created maker assignments using UTA’s Maker Competencies. As an academic makerspace, we’re thrilled that UTA has not only made the competencies available, but they’ve made a directory of course assignments available as well!
Filter lesson plans by maker competencies, discipline, partner, or year, or just browse the list at the Lesson Plans page.
Maker Competencies List
Scroll through the Maker Competencies list to view each literacy along with subcomponents to further define each one. These competencies can easily be tied to course learning goals and outcomes and can be easily assessed at the end of the assignment.
We’re so grateful for the partners at the UTA Libraries, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and University of Nevada Reno for taking on this large project and sharing so all academic and educational makerspaces could benefit!
Learn about the cool stuff that students and faculty have been making in our academic makerspace in our summer coffeehouse presentation! Our makerspace is located in the library of a small liberal arts campus and serves all academic departments.
Previously, I collaborated with Prof. Alyssa Hakes of the Biology department on a very interesting project, which highlights 3D printing’s high versatility and interdisciplinary potential. We worked on a project which may allow us to protect an endangered plant species known as the Pitcher’s Thistle (Cirsium pitcheri). This unique intersection of ecology and 3D printing is not intuitive at first, but it’s also an intersection that has only recently been explored by the scientific community.
Prof. Hakes has a wonderful page on
which describes the project in depth. In short summary, the goal was to fabricate
decoys of the Pitcher’s Thistle (PT) to attract weevils away from the real and
vulnerable plant. We wanted to make the decoys as high fidelity as possible
considering things like shape, size, color, and reflectiveness. We also wanted
to optimize these decoys such that they were easy to print/work with and easy
to deploy in the field.
During the initial design phase, one of
the biggest challenges was trying to replicate the topology of the PT. The
small pineapple-like protrusions on the curved surface of the bud, proved
difficult to design and we anticipated that it might also be challenging to
print. In a stroke of genius, Angela Vanden Elzen had the creative idea to
modify a design she’d happened to come across on Thingiverse. The file was of a
lamp shade which Angela then further modified by placing two inside one
another, adding a sphere to the middle, and inserting a hole through the base
(so the decoy could be placed onto a dowel which would act as the plant stem).
This ultimately resulted in a decoy which looked something like this:
Interestingly, we discovered that the
“spiky” parts of this design weren’t printed exactly like they are shown in the
.stl file. Instead, because of printing limitations (e.g. the angles of
these edges) we ended up with decoys that displayed intricate, thin, somewhat
“frilly”, and lengthwise fibers which surrounded the bud. Ultimately, these
fibers actually helped make the decoys even more realistic in terms of texture.
They also facilitated some of our feasibility constraints (e.g. no
supports in the design makes it quick to scale up printing and the protrusions
may make adding/maintaining adhesive easier).
As we were printing, we utilized several
different shades of green (including an algal based filament which was surprisingly
. . . aromatic). We initially relied on prof. Hakes’ previous field experience
to determine colors that best match the PT. Later we decided we could use
images of the PT (taken by prof. Hakes in the field) to obtain a hex code and
subsequently a customized color filament. But where could we order customized
color filament? As it turns out, about 10 minutes away from the Makerspace is a
local business called Coex, which supplies several different types of filament.
We then began collaborating with them to create this custom filament.