What do you get when you cross a robot, a Xerox paper box, and one of America’s oldest department stores, Macy’s? You get a marvelous and magical STEAM project that will have your students creating, engineering, and programming Macy’s-esque animated holiday Christmas windows.
Examples of Students’ Fabulous Animated Windows
Details About the STEAM Project
Peggy Perkins, a 30+ year veteran teacher, and Kathy Holberg, a retired educator, used their collective brainpower to put together a robotics STEAM project to go along with the magic of the holiday season. But I will say– you can put a spin on this theme and modify animated windows any time of year!
Peggy teaches GT at Bluebonnet Elementary. Her students build and program the LEGO WeDo 2.0 robots in the fall. Then, in the middle of November, they built their own Macy’s Holiday Animated Christmas Windows out of a Xerox paper cardboard box. The students can work individually or in pairs to decorate and add robotic animation. The theme varies from year to year, and the goal is for projects to be finished by the school’s holiday program held in early December.
Here are some themes that have been celebrated:
- Books of the Season: For this 2021 theme, students chose a holiday-themed picture book as the basis of their creations.
- Christmas Around the World: Students chose a country to research. Then they represented holiday traditions from that country.
- The Magic of Disney: Learning was centered around the history of Walt Disney, his theme parks, and his creativity. The animated windows were based on a favorite Disney story.
- Winter Festivities: Students focused on holidays celebrated during the winter season such as Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, just to name a few.
PRO TIP: Put a spin on the theme and hold this STEAM project any time of year! Additionally, any robot platform could be used: LEGO, VEX, Ozobots, Dash– your creativity is the only boundary!
Project Lesson Plan and Resources
Peggy Perkins shares all her resources here to get you started:
- The Lesson Plan
- Books of the Season – Student Book Information
- Automated Holiday Window Planning Guide
- Sample of Parent/Guardian Letter
- Sample Project Letter to Parent/Guardian
- Student Holiday Windows Checklist
- Macy’s Window Description Activity
Thanks so much, Peggy, for sharing this wonderful STEAM project.
Peggy is a native Texan from the big city of Houston. She has taught for many years in the Bastrop Independent School District in afterschool science labs, robotics, Camp Invention, summer camps, summer school, and more. Her motto is, “I support creativity in education. I believe that schools must spark passion, ignite innovation, cultivate curiosity, embrace failure, and foster creativity in students, teachers, institutions—everybody.”
On December 10, Peggy Perkins was awarded the 2021 Texas Stand Up for STEM Award presented by the Texas Girls Collaborative Project (TxGCP). Please join me in congratulating longtime TCEA member Peggy Perkins on a well-deserved honor.
Want to explore even more STEAM and STEM activities? Take a look at these TechNotes articles.