Contraption Maker Writing Samples for ELA Curriculum

February 29th, 2016 by Deborah Fike

Educational advisor to Spotkin and all around awesome teacher Kris Schwengel has been involved in various Contraption Maker projects, from felt boards to foreign language.  He pioneered using Contraption Maker as an ELA tool, and he had some fantastic results the first year he did this language arts lesson plan.  This year he’s at it again, focusing on precise language (rockets have a fuse not a rope, went vs. zoomed), action verbs, and sequential writing.

Kris provided us this amazing student machine and write-up:

Irene pic

Do you like to play games? Well, this alligator sure does! Steve is playing a game of Pop the Balloon. Help Steve win this game!

Steve has built a machine that he thinks will help him win the contest. Lets see what Steve has made.

Steve has placed a bowling ball in the air so it can fall onto the caution wall and roll down to hit the hamster cage. Hamster wakes up and starts spinning his exercise wheel. Tim is waiting, very impatiently because Tim is waiting the see his beloved dog Tinker. When the flat conveyer belt starts spinning, then Tim gets excited because now it is time to see Tinker! Tim quickly grabs his doggy whistle and breaks into a run. When Tim blows the whistle, Tinker, (waiting below Tim) perks up his ears and runs forward. When Tinker sees scissors in front of him, he skids to a stop.

Tinker doesn’t stop fast enough, but luckily, the scissors were facing the other way. No need to worry, Tinker is a tough puppy that can face any challenges! Tinker does not realize it, but when Tinker bumped the scissors he cut a rope to allow a wrecking ball to fall on Steve’s twin brother (Jumper)! Steve surprised us all, He has a twin brother! Jumper, obviously is mad at Steve for letting a wrecking ball fall on his head. So Jumper decides to fling the wrecking ball backwards, hoping that Steve is behind him. But unfortunately, Steve is not. Instead Jumper accidentally flings the wrecking ball onto a bellow, which pushes air onto the balloon which hits the tack. Nice job on helping Steve complete this game! Uh oh! Jumper is about to have a big talk with Steve! Run!

The above text written by a 4th grader is creative and fun just by itself.  But it becomes more amazing when you realize the girl who wrote this never speaks up in class.  Kris notes that technology helps gives students an equal voice in class by providing different outlets to express themselves.

Many thanks to Kris for this writing sample, and we hope to help other educators provide kids like this one a voice.

-Deborah Fike



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