Jan. 19, 2018: NL Middle School Students #MakeItReal
A small group of Northern Lehigh Middle School students entered AutoDesk’s #MakeItReal contest for a chance to win $25,000 worth of technology equipment to start a MakerSpace in their school library. The art teacher and librarian, Mary Frank and Krystle Tiedeman, guided the students in the process and couldn’t be more proud of their achievements. “It was never about winning. It was about showing our students and our community that collaboration and creative problem solving should be highlighted,” Mrs. Tiedeman noted. Mrs. Frank reinforced this, stating, “The prizes are awesome, but our students were already winners. They already committed to helping bring more STEAM to our school through a MakerSpace, no matter what the outcome of the contest.”
Winning may not have been the focus, but Northern Lehigh is certainly ecstatic it was the outcome. Cheers of applause could be heard through the halls after the unofficial announcement, and the MakerSpace Team could hardly contain themselves during the unboxing of their rewards. The students’ contest submission stood out in a field of impressive contenders, each imaginatively describing what could be created with access to the latest tools. The eighth graders wrote, directed, filmed, starred in, and edited a short video for the contest. They also enlisted some of their classroom teachers to take on the roles of transforming educators and voiceover talent. Students used low-tech Maker Mentality to create a visual story that demonstrated STEAM skills and cross-curricular collaboration as well as creative hands-on problem solving to prove Northern Lehigh is ready to #MakeItReal. Mrs. Frank and Mrs. Tiedeman were tasked with completing the written portion of the application, justifying the incorporation of the prize materials and describing the impact winning would have on the school.
Mikel Chase, Paige Craddock, Daniel Gonzalez, Ty Moffitt, Aiden Pesesko, Camryn Torres, and Elizabeth Panetta presented their video submission at the Northern Lehigh School Board Meeting in December. The district and community have been anxiously awaiting the public announcement from AutoDesk, which officially named Northern Lehigh Middle School winners of the #MakeItReal contest on January 19th. The NL MakerSpace Team’s creative collaborative efforts have secured more than just $25,000 worth of valuable technology, which consists of 10 Chromebooks, 1 Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer, 1 Full Spectrum Laser Cutter, 2 Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headsets, 5 SparkFun Inventor's Kits, 10 Arduino Basic Kits, and 1 Mobile MakerSpace Cart. These students have also served as the catalyst for change at Northern Lehigh Middle School; sparking the Maker Movement, demonstrating how to dream big and #MakeItReal together.