• Maker Challenge -- Upcycled Food

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 5/15/2020

    This year's Maker Challenge at the Campus Laboratory School focused on the problem of food security. We will be celebration your creativity from May 19-21, and kicking off the Kids Care event, supporting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on May 22.


    Upcycled Containers

    Plastic Bottles


    Upcycled foods

    Colorful Vegetables


    Home gardens

    Two Sprouts


    Share your upcycled foods or food related projects.
    * What recipes or meals did you make with ingredients you have on hand?
    * What foods can substitute for other foods in a recipe? Does your favorite food need special ingredients?
    * Did you watch a cooking show to see how others have solved the problem, then try creating a dish or a meal of your own? 
    * Did you upcycle food containers as garden containers, or to make a scarecrow, or to solve a food related problem?


    Enter your creation here Upcycled Food Entry, or email to campusschool@carlow.edu


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  • Upping your Maker Game

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 4/10/2020


    ---- Learn by Watching ----


    An easy point of entry to the maker world is to watch how people work with tools and materials to create objects, use tools and solve problems. There are often obstacles of limited materials or time constraints to overcome.


    (These are commercial offerings. Preview for suitability for your students.)


    Making it



    Lego Masters



    The Repair Shop

    Nailed It


    Amazon Prime

    Handcrafted America

    James May’s Toy Stories

    How Tech Works


    Science Channel

    How It’s Made



    ---- Learn by Doing ----

    These challenges require only common materials. Watch video to see how engineers approach these tasks.
    Balloon Car Race
    Spaghetti Bridges
    Marble Run
    Cardboard Chair
    Make a Periscope
    Cardboard Boat

     ---- Learn by Watching AND Doing ----


    Movies and activities, suggested by Chris Woods @DailySTEM

    Click on the link for details. Each movie is accompanies by ideas for projects, top scenes, a "big question", and further study.

    Super STEM Movies V 1

    Big Hero 6

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

    Finding Dory

    The Iron Giant






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  • Simple Maker Activities to Try at Home

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 4/7/2020

    Maker Projects Week 9

    House and Home


    We have all been spending so much time IN our homes

    that we thought it was a good time to think about some different ways to look at shelters.


    Floor plans show the relationships of rooms and entrances, one floor at a time. Look here for plans of some famous homes that you might see through your screens. Imagine how the rooms would look if you could look down from the ceiling. What would the floor plan of your house look like? Could you sketch and measure a room?


    Floor Plan of the Simpson House

    Detailed Floor Plan Drawings of Popular TV and Film Homes



    Construct Buildings of Your Own

    Visit this site to download templates (patterns) to print and cut out. Print on plain or colored paper, then decorate and assemble one or a few buildings for a neighborhood or a town.

    Aerial View of Paper Houses

    Create Paper Cities



    Knit a Town

    Knitting and crocheting use special loops that turn a line into a plane. These houses are created by following a series of patterns and color changes to "build" walls, windows and doors into street scenes. Learn to Knit or Learn to Crochet then try to knit or crochet a patch that represents your home. 

    Knitted Street Scene

    Knitted Houses



    Counted Cross Stitch

    Another form of hand work that uses a grid pattern to make a design is counted cross stitch. With a piece of Aida or other cloth and an assortment of threads called embroidery floss, you can stitch a picture of your home. Learn how here:  How to Cross Stitch

    Framed Cross Stitch Sampler




    Maker Projects Week 8

    Let's Make Instruments! 

    Selected by guest maker, Vanessa Ceravolo


    Create your choice of instrument from your favorite song!

    You can use a song that you’ve heard on the radio or YouTube a favorite song.

    Use materials from home to create and decorate an instrument.


    Below are some ideas.


    A student used different kinds of beans to make shakers.

    Using his decorated instrument, he shook his instrument and we can hear all the sounds from the beans

    Shaker with Beans



    A group of students made their own band with their homemade instruments.

    One student used a cup for a microphone and the other students made guitars.

    Homemade Instrument Band



    This guitar was made by a student using a tissue box, paint, rubber bands, and a ruler.

    Guitar with Box and Rubber Bands




    Another makerspace guitar using a paper plate, stickers and rubber bands.

    Guitar with Paint Stirrer and Rubber Bands




    Wooden spoons that a student painted and connected beads to make an instrument.

    Wooden Spoons with Stringed Beads




    Makerspace drums using cans, rubber bands, and chopsticks.

    Cans with Balloons and Chopsticks




    See what happens when music teacher, Mrs. Sproul, works on her kitchen instruments.

    Three Blue Bowls


    Mrs. Sproul's Kitchen Music






    Maker Projects Week 6 and 7

    Earth Day Week Activities

    “Grow It Yourself”

    WWII Victory Garden Poster

    Get ready for spring gardening with these planting ideas that upcycle ordinary household materials.



    Newspaper Plant Pots

    Newspaper Cylinder Plant Pots

    Grab a few sections of newspaper out of the recycling bin, and in just a few minutes, you can turn them into perfect containers for starting seeds.

    Paper Pots for Starting Seeds




    Plant Once, Grow Forever

    Root Vegetables Tops

    20 Vegetables You Can Regrow from Scraps

    REgrowing Plants




    Paper Seed Shapes

    Handmade Paper Shapes with Embedded Seeds

    The basic idea is to turn old paper into paper shapes that are then combined with seeds.

    Paper Seed Starters








    Presented by Guest Maker, Vanessa Ceravolo.

    a student in Carlow's Masters program in Early Childhood Pre-K through grade 4.


    Create your choice of a character/object in a book


     You can use a book that you have at home or try searching a favorite book on YouTube for an audio/visual book.


    Use materials from home to decorate a character OR object in the book of your choosing.


    You will see below that I used three different books to give you an idea, you do not have to use these books- they are just some of my favorites, but you are welcome to use them if you would like!





    Here are some ideas:


    The Rainbow Fish
    By: Marcus Pfister

    The Rainbow Fish (read-aloud)

    You can use paint, makers, scraps of paper, any recycled materials at home for this one!


    Paper Fish with Painted Dots




    A Bad Case of Stripes
    By: David Shannon

    A Bad Case of Stripes (read aloud)


    Orange Blue Green Stripes


    Instead of using colored paper, look around your house for these colors. Maybe you use cotton balls for white, you can use grass in your yard for green, you can use dandelions or flowers if you have any for the other colors (pink, purple, yellow), you can use yarn for one of the colors. Look around your house, use what you have!




    How I Became a Pirate
    By: Melinda Long

    How I Became a Pirate (read aloud)


    Cardboard boxes, egg cartons, or a shoebox, could be great for something like this activity.  

    Cardboard Model Pirate Ship







    Maker Project Week 4

    A Way with Window Art


    This Easter, Miss Palermo and Ms. Dee shared the joy of the season by decorating their windows with stained glass patterns.

    Stained Glass Window



    A Facebook group from the MidWest, called “Heart Hunters”, decorated windows with pictures of hearts in all sizes and colors, and groups around the country are reaching out to their neighbors with colorful window decorations.

    Window decorations help connect people socially distancing because of COVID-19


    People are decorating their windows with hearts and messages of hope right now


    Use the technique of your choice to bring this activity to Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods,

    or expand your creative horizons with one of these methods to create translucent works of window art.




    Tissue with Wax or Sticky Paper

    Two Ways to Make Tissue Paper Stained Glass Art for Spring

    Waxed Paper or Contact Paper




    Oiled Star

    How to Make Paper Look Like Stained Glass

    Oiled Paper (Vegetable Oil and Cotton Ball)





    Maker Project Week 3

    Going on a Bear Hunt


    Place a teddy bear or other stuffed animal 

    in your window or on your porch

    to greet neighborhood walkers or riders:


    See what people are doing in --


    Western New York:



    Washington DC:


    Challenge your neighbors, or virtual neighbors, to spot your stuffed animal and, perhaps, share a photo. We'd love to see your experience. Send to srament@carlow.edu if you're willing to share.


    A simple pattern for stitching (or gluing) your own bear -- or create your own animal using this idea.



    Brown Felt Bear


    Here's a no-sew version (but you'll want a glue gun. or glue and patience!)



    Small Stuffed Sock Animals  






    Maker Project Week 2

    Cheer Up with Chalk


    Chalk Saying

    “You’re gonna make it!” was the encouraging message someone chalked across the path In my local park. If you’re looking for an activity to inspire you to get outside, try one of these:


    Share Messages of Cheer for your Neighborhood



    Create a Pavement Obstacle Course with Chalk 



    Make Your Own Chalk

    With simple household ingredients --



    Maybe a little shopping required --


    Maker Project Week 1

    What is six feet?


    Recommendations for social (physical) distancing suggest that we stay at least 6 feet apart (or two meters, metric).


    Building a sense of distance is a useful skill in general, and in particular, a safety feature in these challenging times. People in different regions develop benchmarks for estimating and comparing sizes based on objects in their environments. These memes illustrated six feet as imagined in different regions.



    Six Feet by Alligator

    Six Feet by Alligator




    Six Feet by Sturgeon

    Six Feet by Sturgeon




    Six Feet by Hockey Stick

    Six Feet by Hockey Stick



    This "six foot" challenge was suggested by Chris Wood at dailySTEM. 

    Since six feet is the recommended “social distance”, measure six feet with items you find around the house. What can you find that lines up to reach six feet (or two meters)?


    Six Feet in Objects  


    Send a photo to Mrs. Ament — srament@carlow.edu and we can share them on Twitter. 

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  • At Home in the Maker Hub

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 11/25/2019

    As the success of activites encouraged by our Mobile Maker Spaces program became apparent, we were able to designate a physical space to centralize planning and sharing of maker and other technology resources.


    During this school year, students in grades 1-4 visit once a week to participate in hands-on on construction challenges designed to support their daily curriculum. Physical skills such as cutting and fastening, procedural skills such as choosing materials and following steps, as well as the important social skills of sharing and taking turns can all be developed through maker activities.

    Meaningful Maker Spaces


    Scroll down to view representative activities of the Maker Hub:



    Maker Journals

    Record your ideas

    Evaluate your projects

     Maker Journal


    Pop-up Cards

    Characteristics of papers

    Following steps

    Pop Up Cards 1


    Pop-up Cards 2

    Create a scene

    Add materials

    Pop Up 2


    Electric Circuits 1

    Complete a circuit

    Identify components

    Circuits 1


    Electric Circuits 2

    Complete a circuit

    Design a context

    Circuits 2


    All About Circles

    Learn circle vocabulary

    Create a “bubble book”

    Bubble Book


    Building a Tool

    Construct a Secchi disk

    Gather data about water clarity

    Secchi Disk 1 Secchi Disk 2


    Six Squares

    Design “nets” for cubes

    Construct a cube from six squares

    Use a Cube


    Square Collage

    Practice cutting skills

    Use three sizes and three colors

    Square Collage 1


    Square Collage 2

    Practice cutting skills

    Use three sizes and three colors

    Square Collage 2


     Explore Cylinders

    Roll and create tab fasteners

    Support a weight

    Cylinder Supports Weight


    Explore Cylinders 2

    Create a rotating structure

    Use two fitted cylinders

    Rotating Cylinders


    Project Feederwatch

    Research habits of local birds

    Design a feeder of weather hardy materials

    Feederwatch 1 Feederwatch 2


    Build with Kits

    Explore building sets

    Share resources

    Build with Kits 1



    Build with Kits

    Apply geometric properties

    Share resources

    Build with Kits 2


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  • Poetry in Motion 2019

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 5/22/2019


    Welcome to the 7th grade Poetry in Motion presentations. Students presented dramatic readings of “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost, and “After the Winter” by Claude McKay, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, “ I, Too” by Langston Hughes, and an excerpt from John Milton’s Paradise Lost.  Each group presented a detailed explanation of their bot and a group reflection of the project.

    In addition, students shared visual robotic representations of these poems. Our Poetry in Motion projects were created using the Hummingbird Robotics Kits, Snap programming, and various other materials. We have spent countless hours building, painting, gluing, and programming, so we are delighted to share all of our hard work. Sit back, relax, and enjoy watching poetry come to life.


    Still I Rise, Maya Angelou

     Still I Rise

    Read about Still I Rise

    Watch Still I Rise



    I, Too, Langston Hughes

    I, Too

    Read about I, Too

    Watch I, Too


    Paradise Lost (excerpt), John Milton

     Paradise Lost

    Read about Paradise Lost Excerpt

    Watch Paradise Lost Excerpt 



    I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, William Wordsworth

     Lonely as a Cloud

    Read about I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

    Watch I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud





    Fire and Ice, Robert Frost

    Fire and Ice

    Read about Fire and Ice

    Watch Fire and Ice




    After the Winter, Claude McKay

    After the Winter

     Read about After the Winter

    Watch After the Winter 


    Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost

    Nothing Gold

    Read about Nothing Gold Can Stay

    Watch Nothing Gold Can Stay



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  • Maker Challenge Hour / Remake Learning Newsletter

    Posted by Shannon Kotvas on 5/17/2019

    Remake Logo


    Campus Laboratory School's Third Annual

    Maker Challenge

    a ReMake Learning Days event.

    Campus Laboratory School students created a "maker" project based on the 2019 theme of "Protect Our Species" using simple, earth friendly materials. On Friday, May 10th those projects were shared with friends and family across our school community. 
    Pre-School & 3A
    Preschoolers worked with their 3rd Grade friends during the event. Here is an octopus made from paper plates and bubble wrap!  
    Pre-Kindergarten & 3B
    Pre-K worked with 3B to make roller coasters out of Styrofoam, pipe cleaners, and beads. 
    Montessori 1 & 4A
    M1 2
    4th grade and Montessori sharing their games and creations with each other on how to save the Earth and our species. Creations included a basketball game, a recycle bin, a board game, a robot trash collector, and a pulley system to clean the ocean. 

    Then the 4th grade students partnered with  Montessori children to create even more projects using our Mobile Maker Space materials. 
    Montessori 2 & 4B
    M2 2
    M2 3
    M2 4
    The 4th grade joined Montessori to celebrate the Maker Challenge. First, students shared their Maker Challenge projects. We explored birdhouses, played an endangered animal game, discussed the importance of pollinators and how to attract them, and were reminded of the importance of keeping plastic and litter out of the natural environment. 

    Then the 4th grade students partnered with  Montessori children to create even more projects using our Mobile Maker Space materials.
    Kindergarten & 6th Grade
    K 1
    K 3
    K 4
    Kindergarten and 6th grade explain their maker projects to each other, and then we paired up a Kindergartner and 6th grader to create maker insects.
    1st Grade & 5th Grade
    First 1
    1st Grade showed off their maker insects and worked with 5th grade on various building projects. 
    2A & 7B
    Second 1  
    Second 2
    Second 3
    2A and 7B enjoyed spending time together to share their maker projects. Projects created at home included a glider plane and a board game. When students were finished sharing their projects, they were able to explore and create using Squishy Circuits! 
    2B & 7A
    Second 4
    Second 5
    Second 6  
    2B & 7A gathered in the library to share their maker projects with each other. When they finished sharing they were able to plan out a project for future building. 
    Live from the Red (really, more blue) Carpet
    Inventive and articulate students who wanted to share more about their project’s concept and design headed to the “red carpet” room. There, they explained details of their designs from a set designed by art teacher, Leigh Roche.
    Click on links below the photos to hear student inventors describe their work.
    Carpet 1
    Carpet 2
    Carpet 3
    Carpet 3
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  • Maker Challenge Hour

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 5/4/2019

    Today was the day students shared solutions designed to

     Protect our Species, in response to the

    Earth Day Challenge


    CLS classes partnered up to participate in a variety of activities integrating the STEAM fields. Some students shared their inventions with the group, some wrote about their ideas, and some teamed up to create a solution on the spot.


    Walking the Walk to Talk the Talk

    Hall Walk 1


    Hall Walk 3



    Inventive and Articulate Students Talk about their Solutions

    Presentation 1


    Presentation 2


    Mont Maker 2


    Mont Maker 2




    Problem Solving on the Spot

    Construction 1


    Construction 2


     Mont Maker 1




    Live from the Red (really, more blue) Carpet

    Students who wanted to share more about their project’s concept and design headed to the “red carpet” room. There, they explained details of their designs from a set designed by art teacher, Leigh Roche.

    Shoe Designers


    Interview 2

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  • Maker Market / Maker Challenge 2019

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 4/26/2019

    Materials 1         Materials 2




    “In nature, nothing exists alone.”
    Rachel Carson, 1962

    Nature’s gift to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that we have still to discover. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably altered the balance of nature and the world is facing a mass extinction of species at the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world is the result of human development. The causes are many: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, pollution, unsustainable agriculture, and pesticides to name a few, and the impacts are far reaching. If we do not act now, extinction may be our most enduring legacy.

    The good news is that if we take action, we can stop extinction.

    This year, Earth Day Network is asking that we join together to protect our species.

    Earth Day: Protect Our Species


    This year, CLS students will apply their maker skills to create a solution to a problem of an endangered species. Students "shopped" for recycled materials during the week of Earth Day. Projects will be shared during Remake Learning Days in May.

     Remake Logo

    • Design a project based on this year’s Earth Day theme: “Protect Our Species”, using simple, earth-friendly materials.
    • Collect materials at the Maker Market April 26
    • Families can shop for free, choosing materials for use in creating a solution or activity on the Earth Day theme: “Protect Our Species”. Creations will be shared at the  Maker Challenge event in May.
    • Construct your entry as a family. Write about your topic or your solution. .
    • Share your project at the Maker Challenge on May 10


    Maker Challenge Brochure 2019








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  • Mobile Maker Spaces

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 3/25/2019

    The Campus School Mobile Maker Space was envisioned as a way provide accessible resources for implementing important “maker” activities into daily classroom instruction. Research recommends that resources for “making” should be distributed throughout the students’ environment so that they provide a logical recourse for problem solving challenges. The Engineering and Technology strands of the curriculum are particularly valuable in engaging students who are not drawn to traditional school subjects and provide an attractive entry point for their studies. Classes incorporate the engineering design cycle (building on successive iterations) and CREATE Lab technologies, which provide a model for developing persistence in the face of difficulty. We propose to increase utilization of maker projects by providing each department of The Campus School with Mobile Maker resources.


    Teacher "sponsors" designed Mobile Makers Spaces with developmentally appropriate materials and tools to best suport student learning at each age level.


    Maker Pre K

    Making begins early -- PreK3 student explores materials.



    Maker Trinity

    Materials from the maker totes in Trinity Hall.



    Maker Kindergarten

    Mini maker space for Kindergarten.



    Maker First

    The mobile maker space for students on the first floor.



    Maker Intermediate

    Repurposed and donated furnishings host the Intermediate Department Maker Space. This set up will be next in line for a more permanent home.




    Maker Middle

    The middle school maker space hosts Hummingbird and Microbit technologies in addition to more traditional maker materials.



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  • Carlow STEAM+ Programs Blogs

    Posted by Suzanne Ament on 11/30/2018
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