Designing Making Experiences: Interview with a Teacher

On January 21 and 22 teachers from across the country attended Designing Making Experiences, our staple professional development two-day workshop. One attendee, Sarah Purdy, was kind enough to answer some ouf our questions.


Professional Development: 2015 and 2016

As part of the Creativity Lab’s mission to empower thoughtful, capable people through making, we disseminate best practices by offering professional development to educators from around country. This past year we offered several opportunities, from a new Making Math workshop — designed to focus on integrating making and abstract mathematical concepts — to Designing Making Experiences. More

Things we think about when selecting a maker project…


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As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, we have been partnering for a while now with Agency by Design (AbD), a research group out of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero.  As we dive in to this work, we’ve been exploring ways that making not only creates space for play and creativity in school, but allows students to see and shape their world in new ways. More

Raising Every Project’s Ceiling

I think we all like making for different reasons. For some of us it might be driving a curriculum, and for others it might be just the thrill of getting messy, or exploring new technologies. Looking back on my year with the Creativity Lab, I think I’ve probably gone through cycles of areas that really excited me. I’m definitely a cardboard kinda guy. Then the laser cutter took hold of me. Paper circuits, I like those. But no matter the material or the technology, I love projects that inspire me to raise the ceiling. More

Integrating Making into Curriculum: 3rd Grade Circuit Blocks

For the past month, the 3rd grade classes here at Lighthouse have been exploring a unit on electricity during science.  While many lesson plans have students end a unit like this by exploring with and making real circuits, our teachers Lauren Hofmayer and Zoe Sylvester have decided to flip this on it’s head by having have their students start here instead.  More

Last Week in Making: Sept 8 to Sept 11

In this new feature, we will give a quick summary of the different Making projects happening each week throughout the school.  We will also spotlight specific projects in more detail in other posts.  Read on to learn about all the ways our teachers are integrating Making into our classrooms!

IMG_4817The kindergarteners continued a woodworking unit during their Making time on Friday.  They started with filing, sanding, and hammering nails two weeks ago; last week they began to learn sawing.  Eventually they will get to build a wooden toy for one of their classmates.  We want to give a big thanks to Economy Lumber for donating scrap wood for the class to use! More

From the screen to the hand: getting started with 3D printing in the classroom

By Aaron Vanderwerff & Christine Mytko
Originally published on Autodesk Design Academy.

Why Making?

Looking for ways to engage your students in deep learning? Hoping to hone your ability to help students truly understand what they are learning?

Integrating making into your practice engages students, provides a true context for character development (think persistence), and most importantly, gives students experiences to learn core content and practices more deeply. Making is learner-centered. It is based on Seymour Papert’s theory of constructionism (yes, based on Piaget’s constructivism), which says that learners build their understanding more deeply if they create something to share with the world. More

Developing a Maker Mindset

Fun fact: here at the Creativity Lab, Making isn’t just about making things. Making is also about learning to see the world with new eyes, and developing deeper knowledge and understanding of the world around us. One of the ways we incorporate this idea is through using Agency by Design’s thinking routines. Educators can easily integrate these routines into any subject — even those not typically associated with making, like the Humanities. The first routine, called Parts, Purposes, and Complexities, (PPC) is a great one to start with, and is applicable to physical objects as well as abstract ideas and constructs.

Last week, the 11th grade pre-Calculus class used this thinking routine to explore a retractable pen. They started by looking at the parts of the pen and recording their observations. Since this thinking routine is designed to encourage students to do a slow, in-depth read on an object or idea, we had them look at it without taking it apart for the first five minutes.

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Tips, Tricks, & Ideas: Cord Reels

These are a relatively new addition to our Creativity Lab, but they’ve been incredibly helpful. We installed these cord reels into our ceilings for easy access to power outlets, without the fuss of tangled extension cords that our students (and teachers!) are likely to trip over. These reels work something like window blinds: when not in use, they can stay coiled up in their housing, and during classes, students can easily reach up to extend them to their tables. More