Introduction: DumbBoard

This instructable was originally titled BrainBoard but has been changed to DumbBoard as to not violate the registered trademark of Craig A. Berg.  Brainboard, is a great catchy name for  whiteboard, sorry for violating it.

DumbBoards are convenient personal/small group whiteboards for teachers and students to use in and out of their classrooms in a variety of engaging ways. They are bigger than student lapboards and store easily on a wall (with a couple screws) in a crowded classroom.

You can make 6 (2' x2.5') DumbBoards out of one 4'x8' sheet of white paneling (~$25-$30) from your local lumberyard,  or pick up smaller sheets of Frost White Tileboard (48" x 32'') at a big-box like Lowes that are easier to handle but about the same price per sq. ft.

Here is an website from Buffalo Stare University with many references about DumbBoarding (whiteboarding) with students. There is a 1995 American Journal of Physics article written by by Wells, Hestenes and Swackhamer that introduced the use of DumbBoarding (whiteboarding) in a physics classroom using a kind of teaching called the modeling method.

Wells, M., Hestenes, D. & Swackhamer, G. (1995). A modeling method for high school physics instruction. American Journal of Physics, 64, 114-119.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

1-4'x8' sheet of 1/8" melamine/White Frosted Tileboard (makes 6 -2' x 2.5' DumbBoards)

Sabersaw / jigsaw
1" bit
Coarse and fine sandpaper
Tape Measure

Step 2: From Wet Noodle to Big Chiclets

1) Rip one 4'x8' sheet of Frost White Tileboard into 2- 2' wide 8' long sheets on a table-saw.
This stuff is a pain to work with because it is so floppy. I recommend you ask for some help or have something to support it behind your table saw like rollers or a card table...

2) Mark 32" in from each short side of the 2' x 8' strips of melamine and draw 2 strait lines to trisect the strips into 3 - 2' by 2.5' pieces. Free-hand rip the pieces.
I have avoided using a circular/skillsaw in reduce potentially scratching the whiteboard material.I also elected not to use a fence at this step to reduce the chance of kickback.

Step 3: Round the Corners

1) Trace some guidelines.
2) Clamp several sheets together (3-5).
3) Cut with a saber/jigsaw.

I have considered rotozips or routers for this but they can make an awful lot of dust and are not as reliable without a good jig.

Step 4: Make the Handle

1) Drill two holes at  2" from the top edge and at 14" and 18" from the short edge of the board.

2) Use a saber saw to cut between the holes.

Be careful not to blow out the hole a accidentally remove a portion of the white writing surface.

Step 5: Smooth It Up!

-Use coarse and fine sandpaper to smooth the edges and hand hole.

*Sanding reduces edge chipping and makes a comfortable handle.
Consider grip tape for a deluxe board model.

Step 6: Use It!

I like having students use a DumbBoard when working in small groups. DumbBoards provide a great springboard for discussions, help you see student preconceptions when fomatively assessing and can effectively facilitate learning outside the classroom. I use 6 with my classes. 

Some Applications:
- Quantitative practice problems
- Graphing
- Sketching
- Brainstorming
- Summarizing material
- Frayer models and other graphic organizers
- Shades - Blocking light from windows when using a projector in class on a sunny afternoon...
- Going outside and enjoying that sun while still accomplishing classwork that supports kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, visual and verbal learners!
- X, Y and Z planes for some 3D vector lessons

*It is also easy to archive work by taking a digital photo of a student's work on a DumbBoard and posting it to you class website or wiki.

Related and interesting: IdeaPaint


Truehart made it!(author)2012-04-12

This is just awesome and I have no idea why nobody has commented just to say as much. Was this ever featured?

About This Instructable




Bio: Dad. Science and engineering teacher.
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