Table of Contents
Makerspace Summit: How do we build a true culture of learning and curiosity? 4
Goal of Workshop 4
Aaron’s Bio 5
Part 1: What is a Maker? 6
Risk Takers 8
Sharing: DIT not DIY 9
Maker Mindset 10
Maker Culture 10
Makerspace and Personalized Learning 11
Part 2: Build, Play, Share Cycle 13
LEGO Duck Challenge 13
Resources on Play 14
Input from Social Media 16
Ideal Makerspace 17
Part 3: PBL and Maker Worlds Collide 19
Begin with the Question 19
Integration Flaws 20
Project Based Learning Examples 21
Part 4: Exploring the Maker World 23
Maker Projects 23
Can Students Learn and Have Fun? 25
Typical Week in Coffeechug Cafe 25
Final Thought 28
Where to Learn More? 29
Where to Get Maker Stuff 29
Examples of Makerspaces 30
Elementary Makerspaces 30
Resources & Food For Thought 32
Chew On This 33
Makerspace Materials 34
Makerspace Resource Sites 34
Research on the Need for Makerspace 34
Getting Started With Makerspace 35
Sample List of Makerspace Materials to Get Started 35
Additional Resources (in case you needed more) 36
BMS Project Examples from 2014 – 2015 37
Blog Posts on PBL 38
Deeper Learning 38
Makerspace Summit: How do we
build a true culture of learning
Goal of Workshop
Join us for a full two hours of making, tinkering and designing flexible exploration spaces that
support deep learning! Begin your journey with an introduction to Makerspaces. Collaborate with
your maker colleagues as you experience the design process, complete challenges, and see
examples of how this dynamic approach to learning can be part of your library, classroom, or
school. Experience a variety of hands-on activity stations and demonstrations.
Leave with ideas for getting started with Makerspace. It will be a jam packed two hours of
1. Pre Workshop
a. Participants will create name tag, badge bling, or binder bling.
2. BUILD, PLAY, SHARE
a. Introduction and bio
b. What is a Makerspace? What is a Maker?
c. Build, Play, Share Cycle
1. LEGO kit
3. Improvement is No Longer the Challenge: Maker Mindset and Culture
4. Make Challenge #2 Ready, Set, Design
a. Assembled ahead of time
b. Various materials
5. PBL and Makerspace: How These Worlds Collide When Done Properly
6. Make Challenge #3: Interactive Notecards (optional if time)
7. What’s Next? (optional if time)
Aaron Maurer is an Instructional Coach for Bettendorf Middle School. He has been in education
for over a decade teaching sixth grade social studies, literature, and computer as well as
spending many years teaching gifted education in grades 4-8 before taking on the new role of
instructional coach. Aaron is a member of the Lego Education Advisory Panel, Microsoft
Innovator Educator Expert, and was a finalist for the Iowa Teacher of the Year in 2014. He is an
avid fan of STEM, Makerspaces, and Project Based Learning. He has launched a new
engineering program called Young Engineers of Today and also coaches two robotics teams. In
his free time he loves to spend time with his three kids, Aiden, Addyson, and Ava, their new
bulldog Frankie May, and to act like the fourth child to his wife Amanda. Last, he is an avid
coffee consumer frequently spotted wearing bow ties and searching for that perfect cup of joe.
You can see all of his work on his website www.coffeeforthebrain.com. Twitter
Part 1: What is a Maker?
What happens when a person spends
countless hours on a project that has not
been assigned? No competition, no
homework, no forcing of learning, but that
moment when we become consumed?
Today's culture is slowly losing opportunities
for kids to get lost in their own curiosities.
● Every minute is scheduled
● Every activity is organized
● Every move is documented
● Every action has a consequence for
Is there time to simply be a kid? What is the
goal in education? Perhaps it is helping
students find their way? A key to being a
maker is to explore what is possible.
Have we drifted so far away from the things
we use that we are completely unable to
recreate the simple objects that are
ubiquitous in our everyday life?
Learning how things work is empowering.
While at first you might be trying to figure
out which fold to make on a paper circuit,
you might end up with knowledge that is
helpful in designing a new toy.
The point here is that we cannot lose sight
of how things are made. When we begin to
experiment and discover we then move into
this area of flow where learning starts to
spiral and leads to the next idea and
Iteration makes everything better. In maker
culture, iteration is expected. Doing and
re-doing is how we know we are taking a
risk in trying something new. It’s okay if it
does not work as expected. It's okay to
We don't always get to choose what our
kids (either biological or in our schools) will
be interested in. Makers want to make
Thinking back to Curiosity, how often do we
give children the time and space to freely
choose what they want to spend their time
Originality is key!
What happens if we toss toilet paper on the
Are we being negligent when we
overprotect our children from risk?
Toy kits of today:
● There is a right way
● There is a singular path
How do we challenge?
If we go to bed and wake up feeling fine
every single day, then we are not taking
enough risks! Failure is a necessary
attribute of engineering, which if you think
about it is a contrast to what is taught in
classrooms all over the nation where failure
leads to loss of points and very rare second
opportunities. This is much different than
failing for not trying. We are talking about
attempting to learn.
It is time we teach students to love learning
for the sake of learning and not simply for
the competition. By competition, I refer to
not just events, but points in class and
For example, how many of us as parents
have overstepped a child's project because
it was not sufficient enough to earn the
grade WE wanted them to earn? What does
this teach the child?
Watch my son deal with persistence with
If you have a specific issue/problem that is
holding you back, then do some research,
send a thoughtful email to others, make a
phone call to an expert and have a little
When you reach out:
1. Avoid the obvious
2. Proximity helps
3. Do your homework
4. Don't waste people's time
Young kids don't care about failure. Watch a
3-4 year old at play. They just keep trying
and making new iterations of their ideas as
they go along. They never stop. This
beautiful mindset starts to fade when they
enter school. They begin to worry about
failing. Parents worry about failing children.
Teachers worry about failing. Everyone all
of sudden brings great emphasis to failing.
Spot the difference between parents
interacting with a young child vs. older child.
When my daughter’s in the bleachers
making mistakes we laugh and learn vs
getting upset when our kid messes up on
the basketball court.
Because of this we forget about the joy in
The challenge becomes how to nurture play
and not stress about mistakes in all
Sharing: DIT not DIY
They don't just want to sit in their garage.
They want to share and learn from others.
This is the reason for a surge in many new
events popping up all over the world. This is
the reason for makerfaires, makerspaces,
Community examples of sharing:
Makers are always eager to share, which is
the opposite of many classrooms where the
teacher is usually the one up front sharing
all the time.
Making is a team sport.
We often think of makers as isolated, nerdy,
lonely people, but that is a misconception.
Maker are connected. They work
collaboratively with others. They openly
share ideas (see open source
communities). Makers give away designs
and love to help others out with questions
Making is not really DIY, but more DIT - Do
Makers are a community, which is one of
the most powerful elements to making. For
example with this workshop my PLN shared
ideas to help!
Remember: Every new project starts with an
audience of one: YOURSELF. You must be
Don't worry about trying to learn every
single tool. Instead, focus on understanding
and learning the mindset. If you have the
mindset, then the tools come naturally as
you problem solve.
If you have the mindset, then all the
conversations about mistakes, failing, fail
forward, fail fast, etc. are not needed as you
just focus on what you are trying to solve.
We don't view mistakes in video games as
failures. We play again and again and
again. School and making should operate
the same seamless way.
With a maker mentality the journey is the
best part. Every constraint and parameter
allows you to try something different. Ask,
● Persistent thinking
● Openly sharing learning moments
● Embracing the winding path of
Real simple: Every single person involved is
a teacher. Every single person involved is a
Ideas are nothing and prototypes are
You must do your project. Your excitement
needs to be contagious and transmit to the
children. When you lead this way you will
find yourself being inspired by the students.
How many times have we marveled at how
kids play with such simple things? For
example, you buy your young
child/grandchild a toy and they play with the
Part of the maker culture is having materials
to allow for free reign of imagination.
This may not look like much, but this is the
most used space in Coffeechug Café.
Makerspace culture promotes infinite play
with no instruction. Let students explain
their learning and ideas. We don't always
have to fill their heads. They are not a
vessel for us to fill up.
Makerspace and Personalized Learning
They magically and naturally go hand in
hand. Personalized learning is simply about
using tools, ideas, and strategies.
Think about how many times we:
● Have a problem
● Do not have an answer
● Go to Google to find an answer
● Go to YouTube to find a video
● Click through images and videos to
find what works best for you
● Take action to make it happen
It is personalized as we find the curators we
like. It is personalized as we find images
and resources that make sense to us. It is
blended and flipped as we watch, pause,
rewind, test, do, find more, read up on new
We don't need labels for these things. It is
just a natural part of who we are with the
technology at hand.
My son will spend hours on YouTube
watching videos that interest him. He will
discuss the ideas at great length. When a
learner is not engaged in the content
learning will not happen. I cannot count how
many times he has “forgot” to turn in an
assignment that he has done or will do the
bare minimum to get by in his classroom
work. He is good student and will be
successful, but if he devoted 1/10th of the
time he invests in topics he is interested in
into his school work, who knows…..
The point here is that we must work to meet
kids where their interests are and work to
find ways to merge the requirements of
education to the passions of the learner.
Personalized learning is not something
someone does to a learner. Learning is
personal. It is an action that we do
ourselves. We don’t wait for it to be done to
“The creative adult is the child who has
survived.” Ursula Le Guin
Every single child is a maker and some get
to stay that way longer. Are we creating the
culture need to keep the childlike spirit of
play and creativity going in schools
throughout the k-12 system?
Part 2: Build, Play, Share Cycle
"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." -
LEGO Duck Challenge
One idea that I love is to challenge students
or my kids to make things that are simple
and easy. One of the classic examples is
the LEGO Duck Challenge. Check out my
short video experimenting with my daughter
who was 4 at the time as well as my son.
Play allows us to:
● Team build
● Unleash creative thinking for
● Work out a solution to a shared
● Create a shared mindset about
● Have constructive discussions
where everybody is heard
● Build a shared vision
● Develop leadership
● Engage in one-on-one and team
● Interact with children, family, school,
Resources on Play
● The future depends on play
The future depends on play_Seriouslythemovie
● Tim Brown: Tales of creativity and play
● Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
● Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!
● Make Writing with LEGO Instead of Writing Old School
○ Using LEGO to build a rough draft story concept.
● Tennis Ball LEGO Tower
○ With your team in 7 minutes, build the tallest tower you can with LEGOs that will
support a tennis ball above a table. Measure the height in inches from the
tabletop to the top of the tennis ball.
■ Tub of assorted LEGO bricks
■ 1 tennis ball
○ Idea from Wes Fryer
● Schoolwide LEGO World build challenge update!
○ A fun idea to include 1100 students in building with LEGO.
● LEGO EV3: Bluetooth Project - Windy City
○ Using LEGO EV3 to prototype a product created by students to help with wind
● LEGO Creation Challenge #9
○ Use 20 random pieces to challenge teachers and students to build with free play.
● Coffeechug's LEGO Imagination Contest #1 - Halloween
○ More challenge ideas.
● LEGO Teacher Nametag Prototype
○ A fun activity to use LEGO.
● Moving To Middle LEGO Challenge #1: Eye Slide
○ Moving to middle build challenge.
● Robodogs and the Power of FLL Learning
○ Using LEGO EV3 and First LEGO League helped me to see value in learning.
● Hands On is Key to Learning
○ A community event to promote hands on learning.
● LEGO Your School
○ Variety of activities and ideas.
○ Put bowls of Lego bricks in your meeting rooms and see what happens
○ Combine Lego with other facilitation techniques
○ Play around with the Lego bricks and invent new challenges
○ Build a Lego wall
● Cortical Homunculus
○ To learn more about this concept.
Input from Social Media
In 2015 I reached out to the world via social
media and posted the following:
I am reaching out to this amazing group. I
am conducting a Makerspace Workshop for
superintendents. The focus is to challenge
them to think about why we need a special
space in schools to not feel like school. How
do we move the elements of a makerspace
mindset and culture into all classrooms.
With that being said I wanted to pick your
brains about key ideas, concepts, and more
about what you would share in terms of
makerspace mindset and culture. what
would you do if you had these powerful
people for three hours and the chance to
help transform education? I will share my
work early next week, but wanted to reach
out to this group.
Here are their responses from Facebook:
● Yes, bring back shop class:
● Relate maker movement to older
movement that needs reviving--shop
● I have been teaching woodworking
for the last 12 years and only
recently did I realize I was part of a
movement until somebody labeled it
"Makers" Yes, tie it into shop class.
Most superintendents are old
enough to have experienced hands
on learning in such a place, at a time
before everyone was expected to
work on a computer and go to
college. Here is a blog I wrote about
my philosophy. Enjoy. Todd
● Student-centered, interest-driven,
project-oriented: the three keys.
Each one, properly used, can be
used to create a personalized
learning path for each student which
will eventually embody all three.
Take your pick which one is the best
hook for a particular student or
situation, just make sure each one is
● amen to the other comments. I will
go one step further. The longer-term
vision might see every classroom as
flexible space. In a broad conceptual
sense, all student endeavors should
be "makes" of one kind or another.
The configuration of classroom
spaces encourage (or not) student-
and interest-driven explorations.
● In stressing 21st century skills, I
would use Google and Apple as
corporate models in which the maker
space idea has allowed the
companies to grow and thrive. Also,
this article may give you some great
● I would try to have youth makers
active in the maker space. Then
send the sups into the space to join
in and then pull them out of it to
reflect. Important that they can see
humans busy at interest-driven work
in the space.
● Hi, Aaron. I had a similar task last
spring and wrote about it here on my
blog. Take a look, feel free to use
any of those resources, and let me
know if you have questions or want
more detail about anything
mentioned. Since I'm co-authoring a
book called "Making Literacy," I tend
to approach it from a connected
standpoint, noting the ways that
learning is social and embodied in
maker spaces. Good luck!
● I apologize my bad English, but I
would like to share something about
this. Making, thinking, playing,
creating and other activities are
good to relate to the context where
the student learn. If it is classroom
(makerspace or not) it has it’s own
learning ecosystem. Many times it is
not enough, the ecosystem should
emerge and connect to the outside
of classroom. When the students (or
teacher) have decided their open
learning task (some kind of big goal),
they could at first make visible what
kind of learning ecosystem they
have and what they will need for the
task. Then the community can build
together the learning ecosystem
during the learning project. I have
noticed that it is very helpful when
the community of classroom discuss
and make for example mind maps of
their group’s learning ecosystem.
We have used this kind of parts
learning ecosystem (figure). When
the classroom (or makerspace) has
already rich of resources it helps
students step maybe to the next
level. But I argue, that it is not
usually ready for everyone (it not
has to be ready), especially when
the the project is student-driver.
An ideal Makerspace is a place where
students can rapidly prototype ideas. A
Makerspace is for learning, innovation, and
invention, providing stimulus for local
entrepreneurship. A Makerspace usually
has industrial-grade fabrication and
According to Fab Lab*,the gold standard in
“makerspaces were originally designed for
communities as prototyping platforms for
local entrepreneurship, makerspaces are
increasingly being adopted by schools as
platforms for project-based, hands-on
STEM education. Users learn by designing
and creating objects of personal interest or
import. Empowered by the experience of
making something themselves, they both
learn and mentor each other, gaining deep
knowledge about the machines, the
materials, the design process, and the
engineering that goes into invention and
innovation. In educational settings, rather
than relying on a fixed curriculum, learning
happens in an authentic, engaging,
personal context, one in which students go
through a cycle of imagination, design,
prototyping, reflection, and iteration as they
find solutions to challenges or bring their
ideas to life.”
*Fab Lab is the educational outreach
component of MIT’s Center for Bits and
Atoms (CBA), an extension of its research
into digital fabrication and computation.
Part 3: PBL and Maker Worlds
● Ability is not fixed. With a bit of effort
it can grow.
● Failure is going to happen and is
part of learning and nothing to get
upset about or punished for.
● Revision is part of the journey. Get
used to reworking your visions to
transform your work into something
you are proud of.
● Knowledge will increase as you
continue to inquire and ask, what's
next? What if?
● Teaching is coaching. Allow people
● Care is vital to having success.
● Learning is fun.
● Show, don't tell. Exhibition nights
serve as the maker community of
We give students lots of permit exams and hardly any driver's tests.
Begin with the Question
Why do we still create assessments near
the conclusion of a unit of study? This is
insane and clearly an indication that our
learning journey has not been mapped out.
What is the question that students are trying
to answer? What is the problem needing a
solution? These must be identified up front
and then pave the learning pathways, as
students explore various networks to find an
This is not a recipe where each student
answer is the same. This is a project where
we have many different desserts as a result
of the journey.
What is the difference between project
based vs project oriented? This article along
with the amazing Jeff Robin from HTH
explain best! See Jeff and his website for
many more thought provoking pieces.
I have heard it all before:
● I don't like the Common Core
● We are always getting new
● Why do we have to do this work with
● Standards ruin all good teaching
Standards are just standards. That is it!
They are simply a framework, not a
How-To! The key piece that is often lost in
these discussions is "What is the platform
used to connect to the standards?" We want
to know not only what students know but
how they know it and what they can do with
it! We don't care about a standardized test.
The scores will take care of themselves if
we push for deeper learning!
Don't confuse integration with
If you cannot identify both standards and
assessments AND explain how you are
using them and assessing equitably in your
lesson, then it is not integrated.
STEM is not simply using technology. Using
a GoFormative for my lesson does not
make me STEM!
The push for STEM has led to the following:
● Robotics classes and clubs
● BYOD or 1:1 or some new system
● After school "STEM" clubs
Makerspaces and STEM and any other
buzzword should not be a program! We
should be focusing on the practices and
cultures that makes these ideas work.
1. We start off with the reading of this
2. In teams teachers begin to fill out a
chart listing their priority standards.
The goal was to begin to have
discussion over what standards
naturally connect and bridge
3. We begin to brainstorm using a
project ideation form.
4. Once completed, or close to being
finished, we guide teachers through
a project tuning.
a. #GGEE Video 8: Project
Tuning Process with
b. Student Voice and
Participation in Teacher
Project Tuning Session
c. Project Based Learning -
Project Tuning Experience
Enhances My Skills and
Appreciation For My Fellow
d. Project Based Learning -
Project Tuning Experience
5. At the beginning of the year we host
a Teacher Exhibition where all
teachers showcase their projects to
celebrate and seek feedback.
Project Based Learning Examples
● PBL: It's More Than Projects - This is a video I created for our school board to help them
understand the power of what we have going on with learning in our school.
● PBL: It Can Be Done With 1100 Students - This is the whole resource package along
with my slides, videos, and more about how we have transformed our public middle
school into a project based learning school that works. Much of this connects with
makerspaces and the culture we are trying to build and establish.
● American Revolution Debate
● What is True Survival?
● Ancient Engineering - We took a project from my Young Engineers of Today and applied
it to 6th grade social studies.
○ Young Engineers of Today: Spring 2015 Lab 2 – Ancient Engineering
i. Young Engineers of Today Spring Lab 4: PVC Trebuchet
ii. Young Engineers of Today: Spring 2015 Lab 1 - Catapults
b. Child's Play: A STEM Language Arts PBL Unit http://wp.me/p4covo-1gH
c. Math Masterpiece PBL
d. Vinyl Name Placard PD
e. Make Writing with LEGO Instead of Writing Old School
Part 4: Exploring the Maker
Title Idea Link
Robotic Pumpkin Video Use Arduino to code a
pumpkin to open jaws, make
noise, and sense objects.
Electric Tree: A #YEOT
Coil wires and solder LED
lights to create your own
decorative LED tree.
Toys From Trash An amazing website where
you can learn how to make
so many things from simple
iPad Microscope Turn iPad into a microscope. http://coffeeforthebrain.com/i
Make a LEGO Picture Frame Short tutorial for a picture
Young Engineers of Today:
Spring 2015 Lab 1 -
Another project to build
Siege Weapon Contest Launch it! Make
Improvements! Launch It
YEOT: Fall 2015 Lab 1 -
Building Structures Design
Young Engineers of Today
Spring Lab 4: PVC Trebuchet
How to construct larger
#YEOT Open Labs 3 and 4: Power Supply, Electric Tree,
Ideas for squish circuits. ● http://coffeeforthebrai
Daredevil AF-5 Rubber band powered
Coffeechug 3D Printed
Ornament Challenge Results
An annual challenge where
we learn how to build
ornaments in Tinkercad.
People are tired of sitting and waiting for
action to occur. They are taking matters into
their own hands. People want leaders who
move into action despite the idea that
change can be scary. It takes someone to
want to change and stand up to the status
The cycles of mediocrity do stop and can
stop IF YOU want to change them. Many
people say they want to improve and make
change, but never do anything but talk. Let
your actions lead by example.
Although do it yourself might seem
antithetical to the structured nature of
school curriculum, new "making spaces"
challenges established educational routines
in favor of more organic learning that offers
access to all kinds of ideas and materials.
--Making Way for Maker Culture by Alan
Labb and Elizabeth Neely.
"The Maker Movement creates opportunities for learners to make, build confidence, foster
creativity and spark interest in science, technology, engineering, math, the arts—and learning
as a whole"
Can Students Learn and Have Fun?
“It looks like fun, but what are they
learning?” is a common question asked
about Making and Learning. Read the 10
Characteristics of a Highly effective
Learning Environment from Te@chThought.
Do you think these characteristics can be
applied to Maker Education?
Explore the Tinkering Studios framework
Typical Week in Coffeechug Cafe
So often in Coffeechug Cafe we test,
experiment, teach, conduct activities, and
more. Like most educators we forget to
share all things we are working on.
Sometimes they make it to the blog and
social media if they take off, but not all
things are huge. This does not mean that
they should not be shared. So I will be
adding a bit of a series to the blog updating
on things we are working on every few
One of the challenges of instructional
coaching is showcasing how our time is
being used and what sort of impact we have
on education. I don’t believe in full length
meetings with teachers questioning their
every move unless they ask and volunteer
for this type of support. Rather, what I am
finding is that teachers want to get better
and they do that through exploring new
options of teaching and learning, sampling
ideas with a small group, developing radical
ideas with a student, and basically dabbing
a toe in the water of a new frontier.
I thought it would be cool to share what has
been happening in room F4 just in the few
weeks. Obviously, I won’t share all details
as not all of them are exciting and
noteworthy, but here is a quick rundown of
the last two weeks.
1. I bought a vinyl cutter with some
grant money. We (as in Mr. Uhde)
have been working through the
software and Adobe Illustrator to
figure out how to create good cuts.
So far we have made some good
ones and are using the cutter with a
few students projects.
2. I worked with a student for a
National History Day Project where
we prototyped a soldering project for
these massive cardboard
mushrooms for an Alice in
Wonderland presentation. These will
be added to this massive canvas tri
board created by Mr. Uhde in his
workroom (not shown). Just wait
until you see the finished product.
This girl has a vision!
● Sampled a LEGO Duck challenge
with students to see how many we
could come up with in 90 seconds to
gain a baseline vs. adults for
● Hosted a Student Voice Roundtable
Discussion as part of the national
tour. This was mind blowing. We
pulled together all types of students
to talk deeply about education and
their learning. We worked with
Student Voice to make this happen
as part of their tour to gather 10,000
● We have brought back Mr. Robot,
swapping out the NXT with an EV3
and Raspberry Pi. Be ready for our
new website. This is done by
students before and after school.
● We hosted teachers from Western
Dubuque showcasing PBL and how
awesome our staff has been in this
push for new levels of learning.
Students came in and shared what
they like and don’t like.
● Pulled out old trebuchets and
catapults and tested new ideas for
an 8th grade science project.
● Sample printed some ideas for
National History Day projects.
● Troubleshot a gear measurement for
a 3D printed car for potential 6th
grade science project on gears.
● Helped with a 6th grade project
launch on “What is true survival?”
We connected with Mark Wood and
had an amazing day of learning.
● Sample vinyl cut project – Fallout 4
● Created vinyl art for a math project
using Desmos App to challenge
students to make cellphone case
artwork using math.
● Our next tool – the Othermill CNC
machine. This is giving us some
serious challenges of learning, but
we see some great potential for
● Prototyped and gathered materials
for a potential knockout exhibition
night if I can make something work
involving these pieces. This will
require some serious coding,
soldering, and experimentation
before we are ready to have
students put this idea together.
● We played a role in the ScienceFest
by creating a hands on exploration
workshop with robotics.
● While working on our robot early in
the morning we took time to Skype
with students from Kakuma Refugee
Camp in Africa.
● Made Writing with LEGO Instead of
Writing Old School
● Made a piece for a BreakoutEDU PD
session for teachers
● One of our many sample cuts with
This is just a small sample of what has
taken place in Coffeechug Cafe. As you can
see we believe in hands on learning for both
educators and students. You have to have a
vision and the drive to learn. From there we
as instructional coaches can be the support
to make things happen. I honestly believe
that we if we were to level the importance of
people in education, we as instructional
coaches are a step below educators. We
are a support system to help bring to life the
ideas in the minds of educators and
students. Looking at this small glimpse of
work we have done in the last two weeks,
which does not include the meetings and
conversations, I can honestly say we have a
good thing going right now that will have a
huge payoff down the road.
I would love to hear your thoughts about the
images above and look forward to sharing
how things develop and new ideas in
development over the next few weeks.
Look at your practice:
● Is it new?
● Is it better?
● What am I doing to get myself out of
my comfort zone?
One of my greatest fears is that we are taking away opportunities for kids to get lost in their
own curiosity. We don't get to pick what our children are curious about. We do get the
privilege to nurture these curiosities. It is our responsibility as parents,
educators, mentors, and coaches.
Where to Learn More?
● Automata - Instructions for the cardboard automata activity.
● Caine's Arcade - This short movie about a young Maker is a must-watch for anyone
interested in the Maker Movement or project-based learning. Or anyone who loves kids.
Seriously, just watch it!
● Code.org - Activities and resources to get kids interested in coding (programming).
● Crash Course in Design Thinking - The activity we did this morning (with extension
activities and more information).
● Diana Rendina's Makerspace Resources - A very well-selected list of resources by
teacher-librarian Diana Rendina, Makerspace guru.
● Edutopia - Edutopia's articles on the Maker Movement in education.
● Hack Your Notebook Day - Instructions on how to do copper-tape circuits such as we did
today, along with some extended activities.
● Instructables - Like YouTube, but for hobbyists to share instructions on how to make (or
● Invent to Learn - THE book on the Maker Movement in Education! Written by Sylvia
Libow Martinez and Dr. Gary Stager.
● Invent to Learn Website - Resources and updates on Maker in Education.
● LED Haiku Activity - A description of a paper circuit poetry project.
● List of Makerspace Definitions - collected by teacher-librarian Diana Rendina. See other
Diana Rendina link too!
● MakerSpaces in Libraries - Special issue of the School Library Journal, all on Makers.
● MakerSpace Playbook - Free book (after registration) on how to set up a MakerSpace.
● MakeZine - The website version of Make Magazine (The print version should be in every
● Paper Circuirty Notebook - Printable workbook for doing paper circuit activities with kids.
● Sylvia's Super-Awesome Maker Show - Engaging series of Maker videos by a young girl
named Sylvia. She's a rock star in the Maker universe.
● What is a Makerspace? - Great video introducing one school's Makerspace and why it's
Where to Get Maker Stuff
● Adafruit - Company that makes and supports creative electronics kits, including sewable
LEDs and processors! (My favorite example is the Ampli-tie.)
● Best Price for Button Batteries - From Amazon.com.
● Bluecell Blinking LEDs - Ridiculously low prices on blinking LEDS sold through
● Cricut Explore - The main competitor to the Silhouette. It's kind of a Ford versus Chevy
kind of competition, and if you want to compare the differences, just Google "Silhouette
versus Cricut" to find some good comparisons.
● Evil Mad Scientist - Lots of cool electronics kits and also the best pricing on bulk
● Inexpensive bulk LEDs - $.03 per LED in packs of 100 (plus shipping). These LEDs have
visible color when unlit. Five different colors, including white.
● Kelvin - Catalog with lots of Maker-friendly tools and resources at great prices, and the
source for the Beams and Triangles tools and materials. (Shipping can be pricey
● Microtivity LEDs - $.06 per LED in packs of 80 ($4.37, free shipping.) All of these LEDs
are clear when unlit; you only see the color when they are powered. Eight different
colors, including white.
● Silhouette Cameo - The vinyl cutting machine we used. Here's a great video of how an
industrial designer uses it to create models.
Examples of Makerspaces
● Visit this slidedeck for images of makerspaces
● Connecting Children’s Lit to Makerspaces
● Are You Starting a K5 Library MakerSpace?
● 12 Easy Creative Table Prompts for Kids
● Play Doh Games
● Start a Band! Musical Instruments You Can Make
● Tinkerlab - Here are some of my favorites
○ How to Make an Origami Rabbit
○ 60 Egg Activities for Kids
○ Glittery Egg Geodes Experiment
○ Science Fair Project Ideas
○ Cooking with Toddlers Made Simple
○ How to Blow Out an Egg with 3 Easy Tricks
○ The Best Play Dough Recipe
○ 50 Earth Day Activities for Kids
● TinkerLab book review with a project created by my 4 year old
○ Tinkerlab: Mandatory MAKE and STEM Reading http://wp.me/p4covo-1h9
● LittleBits – A growing line of electronic bits that snap together for prototyping and
learning about electronics. Here’s a nice case study.
● MaKey Makey – Check the website for lots of project ideas.
● Bee bots – cute little programmable robots.
● Dash and Dot – more cute programmable robots. Use the Tickle app to program.
● WeDo – LEGO’s robotics kit for K-2 (but easily goes up in age, especially when paired
● Hummingbird Robotics Kit – this might be upper elementary, but there is no easier way
to create robots with moving parts, sensors, and lights than this. Perfect with upcycled
and craft materials.
● Scratch or Turtle Art – Never too young for computer science!
● Don’t forget computers, cameras, craft materials, electronics, batteries, tools, junk, etc.
● Squishy circuits – Homemade conductive and insulating dough lets kids play with
circuits. Check out Super-Awesome Sylvia’s Squishy Circuit Show for some great ideas.
Also watch this video by Squishy Circuit dough creator AnnMarie Thomas about how to
talk about electronics to young children (even 3 year olds!)
● Paper circuits – The Exploratorium has a good getting started with paper circuits page.
With some experimentation, you can use regular LEDs instead of the tiny surface mount
LEDs they recommend (they are tiny and hard to manage). If you want a kit, Chibitronics
offers circuit sticker kits, plus a lot of videos about techniques for paper circuits.
● Soft circuits (sewing with electronics) – The Exploratorium (again!) has a good getting
started page. And Super-Awesome Sylvia makes a cuddly creature with light up eyes in
● Rube Goldberg or chain reaction machines – A video is worth a thousand words.
● Marble runs and ramps – Small scale versions. Larger scale versions. Josh Burker’s
● Scribbling machines – Easy to build robots using scrap materials with pens for legs and
a small off-center motor. The vibrating motor causes the robot to dance around and
scribble on a large sheet of paper.
● Wind Tubes – Easy to make large upright tubes with a fan at the bottom. Makers can
build “stuff that floats” out of recycled materials, put their creations in the tube and watch
them fly up to the sky!
● Tales from CREATE (K-5)
● Lewis and Clark Elementary School Makerspace in the Library
● Ravenswood – Making a Makerspace – Follow the online diary of Robert Provenost as
he plans and builds a makerspace in a K-8 school. There are follow on posts about
building the space and starting classes.
● Kaechele Library Learning Commons (K-5)
● Aaron Vanderwerff at the Lighthouse Community Charter School (K-12). Be sure to look
at theproject guides for elementary.
● Kevin Jarrett at Northfield Community School documents the work of K-4 students in
their STEMlab. (Kevin has moved to the middle school and continues to blog about the
STEAM program there.)
Resources & Food For Thought
● What We Know and What We Do are NOT the Same
○ “If I don’t know I don’t know, I think I know. If I don’t know I know, I think I don’t
know.” — R.D. Laing
● Useless Homework Only Results In Frustration
○ At what point do we change our ways based on what we know to be true?
● The World is a Makerspace, Not a Classroom
○ This is the pivotal step. Moving to ACTION and not just THINKING about it.
● Theory of Loose Parts
○ Author: Simon Nicholson
● All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten
○ Author: Mitch Resnick
● Maker Project Lab
○ Short YouTube video series on awesome maker ideas
● Why is the Education System NOT Letting You Carve Your Own Path?
○ When I heard him ask, “Why are we memorizing Shakespeare?” I found my head
nodding in agreement.
● Design an Innovative Learning Space
○ Slidedeck on how to build spaces in your school.
● Project Based Learning: It's More Than Projects!
○ Mixing the key insights of projects.
● 3 Key Components to a Powerhouse Staff and School
○ 3 ideas I believe are important.
● Teacher Tinker Time Presentation Reflection with Squishy Circuits
○ What I learned working with students.
● The Art of Tinkering by Karen Wilkinson
● Cool Tools
● Zero To Maker: Another Essential Makerspace Reading
○ One of my favorite books. I have it lying around in my room for myself and others
to look at. I wish I had unlimited funding so I could buy one tool a week and just
learn to make stuff with that tool. A great coffee table book that should be in
every makerspace especially if you made the coffee table yourself.
● Creative Confidence
○ By Tom and David Kelley
● Design, Make, Play: Growing
● Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom
○ by Sylvia Libow Martinez
● Make: Wearable Electronics
● Making Makers
● No Permission Required
● Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun
○ by Elizabeth Foy Larsen
● Sew Electric
○ by Leah Buechley
● Tinkering: Kids Learn by Making Stuff
○ by Curt Gabrielson
● Tinkerlab: Mandatory MAKE and STEM Reading
● Worlds of Making
○ by @NMHS_lms
● Zero To Maker
○ Another Essential Makerspace Reading
Chew On This
● How are you going to do design something if you have never built anything?
○ Challenge with BMS → Teacher Exhibition Night
● How can we create if we are not allowed to build in both digital and physical spaces?
● Ursula Le Guin "The creative adult is the child who has survived."
● See problems as challenges, not threats
● What are we educating for?
● Teachers should be learning choreographers
● With Google/Bing we are never LOST and we are always CORRECT
○ How do we get lost again?
● We want people to make guarantees to us but we are not willing to make guarantees to
● “Unused creativity is not benign.” - Brene Brown
● “Knowledge is only a rumor until it lives in the muscle.” - Asaro tribe
● Success is not built on luck but the endurance of never being satisfied and to keep trying
● For children today is not a rehearsal for tomorrow it is an entire experience in itself .... we
must make sure that we do not waste their childhood.
● Building Connections Between Maker Ed and Standards
d-standards #edtech via @EdSurge
● Makerspace Essentials - The Collection http://wp.me/p1MwoV-1xP via @terrieichholz
Makerspace Resource Sites
● How to Turn Any Classroom Into a Makerspace
● http://makerspace.com/ (Need a login)
Research on the Need for Makerspace
● Want proof college is worth it? Look at this list of the highest-paying majors:
● The Nerdy Teacher: Making Is Not Just For STEM #MakerEd
● I Want a Makerspace. Now What?
● Ideas to get started:
● How companies are using LEGOs to unlock talent employees didn't know they had
Getting Started With Makerspace
● Makered.org has created a Youth Makerspace Playbook
● Makerspace Starter Kit
● Girls in Tech - Download this 8 page guide to connecting and including girls in making,
technology, and STEM courses and clubs. Written by Sylvia Martinez for Intel.
● Make It, Wear It, Learn It - Wearables make electronics fun! Session slides and
wearable electronics resources.
● Tips for Architects from Maker Educators - Space matters!
● Maker Movement Brings Tinkering and Technology to Everyone - a provocative interview
with Gary Stager by the Alberta Canada Teachers Association.
● The Best Invention and Making Books, plus other cool stuff
Sample List of Makerspace Materials to Get Started
● Screwdrivers in various sizes
● Scissors or x-acto knife
● Small saw
● Wire stripper/cutter
● Safety glasses
● Plastic gloves
● AA batteries
● Mini light bulbs
● DC hobby motors
● Knife switch
● DPDT switches
● Alligator clip wires
● Stainless steel or copper nails
● Coated wire
● Zip ties
● Soldering iron
● Sand paper
● Hot glue gun and sticks
● Tape of various kinds
● Conductive thread
● Conductive tape
● Sew on battery holder
● Coin cell battery
● Needle nose pliers
● fabric glue
● sharpies, pens/pencils
● Popsicle sticks; skewer sticks
● pipe cleaners;
● Cardstock or construction paper
● Copper tape
Additional Resources (in case you needed more)
● Culture of Learning
● Don’t Build a Makerspace Until You Create a Culture of Learning
● 10 Ideas I Learned from Satya Nadella Fireside Chat
● 5 Paragraph Essays of Barf Have Been Replaced By
● Technology Cannot Mask Poor Teaching
● Technology is NOT an Education Revolution
● Technology Does Not Create Better Quality
● The problem is not technology, the problem is us!
● Using Technology in Junior High Math: Learning with cell phones and iPads and
computers OH MY!
● Don’t Focus On Technology Because….
● Awesome Ava and Dorky Dad Episode 2: Bristlebots
● Awesome Ava and Dorky Dad Episode 1: Making Slime and Life Lessons
● 039: Living on the Edge of Chaos Podcast with John Cole
● Project Based Learning: Why?
● Hour of Code: Where to Go?
BMS Project Examples from 2014 – 2015
I can put you in contact with the teachers of these projects if you want more information. Just let
● Field of Greens
● A Few Bad Apples
● Physics of the Future
● Literacy Across the World
● Child’s Play: A STEM Language Arts PBL Unit – all documents and planning guides are
available if needed
● What makes a person more than a number? Skype With Holocaust Survivor
● Mock Trial of the Civil War
● Taking Global Collaboration and Skype Beyond Mystery Skypes
● Flattening Classroom Walls: Connecting with Cadiz, Spain using Skype
● Fear Factor
● 3D Print Ornament Challenge – A design project open to anyone in the world
● Young Engineers of Today Spring Lab 5: PVC Trebuchet Part 2
● Young Engineers of Today Spring Lab 4: PVC Trebuchet
● Young Engineers of Today: Spring Lab 3: Soldering 101
● Eagle Eye On The World – A global project focused on Liberty and Justice. Here is the
blog that has links to past years of projects. This is coming back for the 2015-2016
● Power of International Collaboration: Iowa to Africa
● Flat Addy
● Here is a Sway with more Project Ideas
● Billboard Design Video
● STEAM Fest Video
● Student Created Video for Checkers for Courtyard Project
Blog Posts on PBL
● Project Based Learning: It’s More Than Projects!
● Don’t Build a Makerspace Until You Create a Culture of Learning
● “Is it really the goal of schools to create college and career ready students?”
● Group Work Is Hard
● 4 Questions for PLC’s or Groups of Educators
● Cubes of Compartmentalization
● How I Know Education Is Headed Down The Wrong Path
● Because if we choose, then we are responsible, aren’t we?
● When developing a lesson plan or unit ask yourself
● What worked yesterday might not be right for today
● The Key To Teaching AND Keeping Your Teacher Sanity
● Technology is NOT an Education Revolution
● What are the shortcomings of project based learning?
● Project Based Learning – Project Tuning Experience
● We have a Google Plus Community where we are holding ongoing discussions. Feel
free to join us!
● 4 Ideas for Engaging Students
● Teaching Channel Videos on Deeper Learning
● This article is not directly talking deeper learning, but it is exactly just that!
● Agents of Deeper Learning
● Deeper Learning 2015 Conference Reflection
● 31 Days of Deeper Learning & PBL Blog Series | 3: Standardized Testing
● 31 Days of Deeper Learning & PBL Blog Series | 2: What is DL and PBL?
● 31 Days of Deeper Learning & PBL Blog Series | 1: Intro
● My Dead Fish Showcases The Need for Deeper Learning
● Visible Learning: Agree to Disagree?
● Even In Failure There Is A Gift
● How Can Robert Palmer Help You Become A Better Educator?
● Forming Tribes in Education
● “And I Won’t Back Down”
● Proximity <=> Creativity and Collaboration