How to Meet Language Arts and Social Studies Standards with Your Laser Cutter

What are all the ways that you might power-up engagement and learning with a laser cutter? 

Teachers of all grade levels and subjects have discovered that DigiLab laser cutters can take learning up a big notch, hitting a wide variety of standards and deeply engaging students in the work. We’ve created lists of ideas to spark your thinking about how to add a laser cutter to your language arts or social studies lessons, with links to Common Core State Standards. 

To come up with your own curriculum applications, consider the units in which your students are least engaged or those that you find most boring to teach. Then, take the story above and the following ideas as inspiration. How might a laser cutter help you to add a new dimension to your own lessons?

 

Language Arts Laser Cutter Project Ideas

  1. Book summaries: Design an artifact that one of the characters had in daily life and cut it out on the laser.

  2. Book diorama: Create diorama made completely out of laser cut pieces.

  3. Book quotes: Have students choose their favorite quotes from their individual or class book; engrave them onto wood and acrylic to hang in the hallway or classroom. Go a step further and have students write an essay based on one of their classmates’ selected quotations.

  4. Elevate writing: Turn student poetry or short stories into authentic products by laser engraving them on a special material to display.

  5. Root words: Have students make games using laser cut pieces to help them learn Latin and Greek roots.

  6. Self-reflection: On the first day of school, have students design and laser cut something that represents them. Display these symbols on the bulletin board or on each student’s desk to help you and their classmates get to know them. At end of year, lead a reflective activity to see what has changed.

  7. Language arts manipulatives: How can you bring your lessons alive by creating objects or aids to go with them? Before it might have been time-consuming or expensive, but even introducing a new material into the classroom gets kids excited about learning. ANYTHING you have as a document can be engraved on laser cutter. You can make bingo game, flashcards, and turn anything into a puzzle (site words, root words, parts of speech).

Social Studies Laser Cutter Project Ideas

  1. Create a culture project: Have students design and laser cut a logo or flag for their invented cultures; create multi-dimensional topographical maps; laser engrave their hand-drawn maps on wood or cardboard.

  2. Solve problems in history: Prototype solutions to questions like, How might the Egyptians have carried their water from here to there? What tools might the Native Americans have used to build their dwellings? What games might the children have invented with the limited materials they had in any given setting?

  3. Create period tools: Make prototypes of ancient tools that the culture would have used in daily life. Make games and tools for colonial different trades. 

  4. Imagine alternate histories: Consider questions like, What if the American Colonists had had access one simple, modern-day tool? Design and prototype it on the laser cutter, and explore how life would have been different or how history would have changed with this one item. 

  5. Build ancient structures: Instead of toothpicks and popsicle sticks, have students design, cut, and assemble bridges and pyramids using the laser cutter.

  6. Living timeline: Have students create laser-cut symbols or artifacts to correspond with essential landmarks or inventions in history.

  7. Historical excavation: Turn pictures of artifacts from the historical time period you’re studying into laser-cut items. Hide them archeological-dig style outside, or just around the classroom. As a pre-unit introduction, have students figure out why they are important to this culture.

  8. History quotes: Have students choose key quotes from history and laser engrave them on leather.

 

Note: Although Common Core State Standards for specific grade levels are linked throughout this article, the activities can be applied to many grade levels.

Want your own classroom laser cutter? Let the DigiLab team help! 

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