2017 May 17 - June 29
2017 October 11 - December 21
2017 Proposal deadline: 08/01/17
2017 BTR deadline: 09/10/17
Feedback gathered by the Xraise staff from local elementary school teachers during the past year has indicated that more educators would facilitate open-ended engineering projects in their classrooms if they were supplied with the materials needed to conduct such activities. In response to teachers’ requests, the new Next Generation Science Standards that promote engineering design, and as part of Xraise’s growing mobile science program, the Xraise team developed and launched a prototype traveling Tinker Cart during the spring of 2016. The Cart holds supplies for one class of elementary school students to participate in the science and engineering activities. Tinker Carts will be donated to local schools and will be managed by the school librarian, who will check out the cart to teachers and will be responsible for restocking accessible materials such as recyclable bottles, containers, caps and paper products. During the first year of the pilot, Xraise will donate items that are harder to find or more expensive, such as hobby motors and batteries, until school librarians are able to secure future funding through small grants to local foundations to stock the Tinker Cart.
Fall Creek Elementary School, test site for the first Xraise Tinker Cart prototype, will provide Xraise with feedback on the design, layout, components, accessibility, ergonomics, aesthetics, branding and other aspects of the Tinker Cart to insure its use and success. Preliminary feedback from the school librarian, Alex Spencer, and from Chris Bell, first grade teacher, is overwhelmingly positive. After the first day of using the Tinker Cart in his classroom this June, Bell reported “When the kids came back from music today, I had the Tinker Cart parked on my carpet in the center of the room. The first kids in the room turned to the rest of the line of kids, jubilantly exclaiming, ‘The Tinker Cart! The Tinker Cart!’ Thank you Xraise for rolling it our way.” The enthusiasm for the Tinker Cart has spread beyond Fall Creek Elementary School and has travelled throughout the Ithaca City School District. Librarians from three different elementary schools in the district, Caroline Elementary School, South Hill Elementary School and Enfield Elementary School have already contacted Xraise and have expressed interest in serving as the next pilot site for a Tinker Cart.
Submitted by: Lora Hine, CHESS, Cornell University