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!


 “I can show you the folds, but if you want to become an origami master, you’ll need practice and patience" - More-igami read-aloud.
Students definitely practiced patience this past few weeks in Makerspace by creating origami, as well as fans representing the Earth's Layers. We even saw NASA engineers using origami designs to get satellites into space! A few more years of practice and maybe we'll see these Decatur students at NASA putting their origami skills to work! 
Students in Kg. & 2nd explored the work of Hervé Tullet - author of Mix it Up and Press Here. After viewing his work of 'upside down' drawings, they created their own works of art inspired by Hervé Tullet. Enjoy! 

Catapults in Action!

Students worked on making catapults this week! Students chose to make their designs using either a 'bottle cap' or 'spoon' as their launch pad. Checkout this student's catapult in action with an explanation of how she designed it!

Origami in Makerspace

5th-7th students worked on creating origami designs this week! Once students created two to three designs, they  chose a way they wanted to present their work. Shoutout to this 5th grade student who created a stop-motion animation, including several origami designs and backgrounds. Enjoy! 

Stop Motion Origami

5th-7th students worked on creating origami designs this week! Once students created two to three designs, they  chose a way they wanted to present their work. Shoutout to this 5th grade student who created a stop-motion animation, including several origami designs and backgrounds. Enjoy! 
This week in Makerspace, students learned about the
"Pinwheel Galaxy", which is a spiral-shaped galaxy about 21 million light years away from Earth. Scientists call this swirling galaxy M101. Since traveling 21 million lights year would be a bit too much traveling in one day, students created their own 'pinwheels' to simulate the galaxy. 

Makerspace Recap!

Students were busy in December designing and redesigning towers. Check out their progress here!

*Roller-Coasters & Flipbooks * Oh my!

This week, 5th-7th graders create the longest strip of paper they could using only a 6'' paper plate! They also designed roller coasters using paper plates and index cards. Meanwhile, 4th grade designed flipbooks. Check out their designs and be inspired to create a design of your own!

What can you design with a ball of yarn?

After experimenting with wrapping cardboard shapes & initials with yarn, students were challenged to create their own free choice design as long as the design contained yarn. This 6th grader designed a small box to carry a toy up and down the stairs. You won't want to miss this innovative design! She even included a seat belt! Enjoy!
One building blocks challenge was to design an object that represents your birthday month. This student created a rain cloud to represent her birthday, even manipulating the size of rain drops! Checkout more student work in the file below! 

Building Blocks Design Challenge (Wk.7)

A new session of of Essentials started this past week! While waiting for Makerspace kits, students started manipulating digital building blocks. Students explored three challenges and chose their best work to display in a 'Gallery Walk' where they received peer feedback on their designs. Click this PDF to checkout a few examples of student work! 

Makerspace: Sep.14 - 18

In Makerspace, students read 'In My Heart', exploring various feelings we may experience at any one time. To help them overcome moments of frustration or periods of overwhelm, students recorded their own 'growth mindset' messages, on a cardboard heart before wrapping them, These hearts will serve as a reminder that even though we are physically apart, we are still connected as a Decatur community. The hearts will also serve as a 'talking piece' during talking circles in class. During this process, students explored new techniques with creating designs with yarn (learning how to wrap shapes & letters). Students used these techniques to brainstorm their own creation out of yarn following the 'Engineering Design Process'. Stay tuned to see these students' creations next week!

Makerspace: Sep 8-11

Congratulations and thank you to students and families for completing Week 1 of Remote Learning! Students have made great adjustments in our new learning environment. 4th-7th grade in Makerspace began building community by creating Play Doh creations of facts about their lives. It was great to see students' creativity come to life as we learned more about each other. Students began taking risks as they aimed to build the tallest tower they could using Play Doh and no more than 20 toothpicks. It was fascinating to see students being open to share when their towers fell but continue to persevere in starting a new design; sometimes even creating a tower inspired by another students' design.