Maker projects don’t need to be huge in-depth tasks. One lesson period is enough to get students tinkering and constructing.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Chris Wise and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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Spend an afternoon building the tallest structure you can out of pasta. How far can you make a paper plane fly? Can you roll this car down the ramp and make it stop on the spot? Here are six pieces of paper and 10 centimetres of sticky tape – build a bridge that spans between two desks strong enough for this car to drive over.
Mini Maker Projects
Start thinking a little bigger. My class recently watched Caine’s Arcade and I challenged them to come up with a cardboard game to play with their Buddy Class at the end of the week. Why not design playground equipment with pasta noodles or cardboard? Use materials from around the classroom to prototype innovative furniture.
We’re holding our second Maker Festival later this year. It’s an awesome way for students to show off their creations. Don’t limit events to school work – if students have made things at home, tell them to bring them in. Celebrate making wherever it happens. Get local businesses and groups involved, connect with other local schools, have a parents’ section for Maker parents?
Develop a Feedback Culture
Peer feedback is a powerful instrument in design. Maker projects lend themselves to the development of a feedback culture in the classroom. Empower your students to share and learn from each other. Develop the ethos that feedback is good – teach them to give constructive feedback that helps them push each other’s projects along.
Embrace Cross Curricular Content
So far this year Maker projects have been the link to electronics, simple machines, coding, filtration, advertising, budgeting, geography, trigonometry and so much more. Often we’ve hit these topics at a much deeper level than our curriculum dictates. Metalanguage is embedded in discussions and the need to find more information to ‘fix’ and improve products means students are accessing content they need rather than waiting for me to get to it. We’ve been able to compact units into days rather than weeks, which allows us more time to explore the topics that the students are truly interested in.
Just have a go. Let your students make stuff. It won’t cost much (or anything) and who knows where it will take your class. Plus, there are no rules for making; you can’t get it ‘wrong’. Look, I said there were five steps and here I am writing the sixth.