When was the last time you made something? Can you remember a moment in your education when you weren’t just drilling into lesson after lesson, and instead picked up a tool and physically built something? STEM education is definitely an area where schools need to improve on, but Edutopia points out students need to have experience making things in order to fully grasp STEM concepts.
AnnMarie Thomas writes:
“The past few years have seen increased interest in making and makers. A maker is someone who makes something—from food to robots, wooden furniture to microcontroller-driven art installations. Makers are typically driven by their curiosity for learning and creating new things, as well as by an interest in sharing their work and processes with others.”
Take a moment and reflect on your own K-12 education. Did you actually put anything together in any of your classrooms? I was fortunate to have a kind of wood-and-tech combo shop classroom at my school, but my experience with it only lasted a semester. I wonder how different my life would be today if I had more exposure to working with tools, computers, and putting together experiments during my K-12 years.
“Making is about realizing that you can be a creator instead of just a consumer. At its best, making allows kids to follow their own interests and passions and create something that is uniquely theirs, while applying the knowledge that they are gathering in all aspects of their life.”
Here are some resources Edutopia suggests for educators interested in providing their students with more hands-on activities in the classroom:
- Make: Projects is a site that emphasizes maker projects, and the Kids and Family section is geared toward younger kids.
- Instructables has 80,000+ illustrated projects ranging from food to electronics.
- The MENTOR Makerspace program’s guide for creating a makerspace in high schools.
- Using 3D printing in a number of subject areas.
- Tutorials that cover topics such as electronics and Arduino microcontrollers.
- The High Tech Low Tech group at MIT’s Media Lab put together a workshop facilitator’s guide for soft circuits.