Teacher Mini Grant 2015 Cycle: Mac Mini for 5th grade class at Oaklawn Elementary

During the 2015 grant cycle, the Community Foundation provided mini-grants for teachers in the Menomonie area. One of those grants went to Matthew Wigdahl’s 5th grade class at Oaklawn Elementary to purchase a Mac Mini computer. The computer is specifically being used for their creative genius project unit.

The students have already put the machine to good use, having built a replica of the school building through Minecraft(an open sandbox game where players create worlds from scratch). The classroom also has a 3-D printer hooked up to the computer and they have created a robot hand with software run from the Mini. In addition, two students are working on an independent project to program the hand to move through software also run from the Mini.

“The Mac Mini has allowed me to step out of the way and let the kids run with these ideas. Prior to obtaining this computer, I was having to assist the students when they needed a machine for these types of projects,” says Wigdahl.

The computer is also hooked up to a large format printer, which will soon be used to print posters for science infographics that have already been created.

“It’s wonderful to just let the students be in control of all stages of that process. The Mac Mini was truly a gift to the students of room 141 and they are using it all day every day. We are SO grateful!”

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Article and photos by Laura Giammattei