Kimberly Mendoza » Ms. Mendoza's Biography

Ms. Mendoza's Biography

Greetings! This school year will be my 12th year teaching in CPS and I am beyond thrilled to be facilitating the design of Decatur's Makerspace program. As we begin our fifth year of programming of Makerspace, I commit each day to build a culture of creativity where each child feels empowered to persevere through the challenges they will encounter on a daily basis; as well as ensuring our students are developing the skills needed for 21st century job opportunities.
Throughout this course, students will be challenged with developing an idea for a project, designing and redesigning a prototype of their idea in order to see their project succeed.  Our goal will be to get comfortable with making mistakes in order to create something new and reach our project goals. Last year, 7th & 8th Grade students became leaders in learning how to our new 3D printer and 3D laser printer. Their leadership allowed 4th-8th grade to create 3D designs with the 3D printer and 5th-8th graders to use the 3D Glowforge laser printer. Students are so excited to use it in class this year!
A little about myself: I was born and raised on the southwest side of Chicago (Go Sox!) and I currently live on the northwest side with my husband, Chris and son Ezekiel. I received both my Bachelor's and Master’s degree from the University of Chicago. I love to run and spend as much time by Lake Michigan as possible. I ran my second Chicago Marathon in 2018 and I spent this summer training for a half-marathon. I'm sure the third marathon will be right around the corner. I love what I do and look forward to a wonderful and creative school year!


FIRST Lego League is going to State!

Congratulations to the 'Steel Turtles' and '2 by 4s' for competing in the City Qualifier on Sunday, Dec. 12 at the University of Chicago's Lab School. Both teams coded a robot to complete as many missions as they could in 2 1/2 minutes. They also presented to judges on how they collaborated together to design and code their robot, while demonstrating their innovation project as well. '2 by 4s' were awarded the 'Champion's Award' and will be moving forward to compete in the State Championship. Great job to both teams! We're so proud of the hard work they have achieved this season! Stay tuned in January for updates on our state championship.

Coding & Penguins in Disguise

Our Makerspace has been busy this week as Decatur's FIRST Lego League prepared for a city qualifier on Sunday, December 12. FIRST Lego League were not the only ones coding this week, as 7th and 8th graders explored using Sphero Bolt robots to get through a maze. Students will explore using both the 'joystick' feature as well as block coding to get through the maze. Meanwhile, inspired by the story "Tacky the Penguins" students in K-4 have been designing disguises to save a penguin. Check back next week for our final disguises and updates from our city qualifier on Sunday!

Balloons Over Broadway | Green Screen Edition!

Last week, students worked on designing balloons inspired by the 'Macy's Thanksgiving Day' Parade. Afterwards, they experimented with a green screen app, "Chromavid" to see their balloons walk down the streets of New York. Enjoy and stay tuned for more green screen projects in the future!

Balloons Over Broadway!

This past week, students learned about puppeteer Anthony Frederick Sarg who first created the balloons for the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York. Afterwards, students had their chance to design a balloon to go down the parade route. A few even had the chance to see their parade be displayed in the parade, using a 'green screen' background. Make sure to check out the read-aloud 'Balloons Over Broadway' this holiday weekend and stay tuned for a video being edited by students! Happy Thanksgiving!

Perseverance in Makerspace

We've been hitting our stride in Makerspace these past few weeks. Students have been persevering in class regardless of the design challenge coming their way. Design a pencil box? No problem. Present your work to the class? Sure thing! Design a monster by staying under budget with materials used? Piece of cake. It's been amazing to see students' curiosity even when exploring Makerspace stations. Rarely are two projects ever alike. Enjoy!

Engineering Designs in Makerspace

It's been a busy week in Makerspace! Students have been exploring the Engineering Design Process by designing pencil boxes, as well as free creations using Makerspace Bins. We had a first time experience in class, where students were given a budget for their materials. Students needed to design a monster for $5 or less. Can't wait to see what they come up with!

Design a pencil box that can hold at least 6 new pencils, with a handle AND has a lid that closes. Are YOU up to the challenge?

Students had fun designing pencil cases this week in Makerspace. Agreeing on a group plan was tricky at first, but it was great to see how students combined their ideas together to make their design. One group even managed to create one pencil case with three different ways to close it! Students in 1st grade were even able to explore Makerspace stations this week, figuring out how to manipulate their manipulatives to create the design they wanted. What an exciting week!

Hot off the press...check out our 3D Printer in action!

7th and 8th graders have been working hard this past month in Makerspace to get their Tinkercad designs printed on our new 3D45 3D Dremel Printer! We've learned a lot and overcome several challenges to send our Tinkercad designs to the 3D printer. This week, their work has finally paid off! Check out our first student designed key chains, as well as our class mascots: the Sharks and the Lions! More designs coming soon!

Engineering in Makerspace

It's been a thrilling week in Makerspace! Students in K-2 finalized their first Makerspace challenge: 'Index Card Towers'. Students in 5th grade held a talking circle about how to work in groups. Students in 3rd-8th also began working in groups to engineer a bucket tower to hold as much weight as they could. Some students' buckets held up to 100 grams of weight! Wow!

Welcome Back Decatur!

In Makerspace, students are digging into the design process by designing index card towers. Students are choosing either to create the tallest tower they can or recreating a famous structure. Enjoy!
Wow - what a year! Students have been busy until the very end working on 2D figures and 3D towers, building pipe cleaner towers, and designing traffic jams. It's been an honor to see students' creativity thrive in hybrid and remote. Have a restful, relaxing summer and have fun making!