Category: 2016 Fellows

Physical Computing Maker Cart – InfyMakers Submission

I applied to the InfyMakers Award Contest Here is the proposal for the Physical Computing Maker Cart. What suggestions do you have for supplies, lessons, activities, resources and challenges? Leave your reply in the comments. Summary The InfyMaker award will enable the creation of a set of Physical Computing Maker Carts for use in elementary, middle… Read more »

Three Things being a Maker Educator has Taught Me

In 2008 at my school ‘De Populier‘ we started with the ‘masterpiece’ project. It’s the last course before our students do their national exams. It’s a typical maker style course: students can make whatever they want as long as there is a challenge. They have to challenge themselves. It was the start of our maker… Read more »

Simple Parts – Part III – Communication through Drawings

Reflecting – Looking at Drawings from Part I Task 1 Start with students back in groups from part 1. Return their drawings in the group folder from the first class. Have students take out just ONE drawing from their folder. Give students 3 minutes to try and re-create the shape from their drawings done during… Read more »

Simple Parts – Part II – Empathy and Communication

This activity is done in partners. You may choose to have students choose their own partners, or students may be required to find partners within the groups they had for Part I. The main setup for these activities is that partners must not be able to see each others’ work, and it is helpful (though… Read more »

Simple Parts – Part I – Reiteration and Defining the Problem

  Introducing the Materials Show students the materials and explain classroom procedures for getting them, and also clean-up expectations. (eg. 1 person from each group come up, or 1 group at a time, or distribute buckets of materials to each group, etc.) Have the students in groups. CHALLENGE Build the tallest freestanding structure you can… Read more »

Design Lessons Using Simple Parts – Introduction

Introduction I have been experimenting this year with teaching concepts like empathy, reiteration, creative thinking, communication and collaboration, through a series of activities that use simple parts (or what my kindergarten colleagues often call “loose parts”). These activities lead nicely into an exploration of technical drawings and 3D design. They are written as if they… Read more »

Real Tools – Real Life – Real Learning

Don’t Run With Scissors There is a lot of discussion in the FabLearn community about tools, not only new tools like 3D printers and CNC machines, but also about finding great hand and power tools for children. As I have been pondering tool use in the classroom, I have come to several conclusions: Tools need… Read more »


Role-playing Games as Petri Dish for Whimsical Tinkering “I like to think of play as the art of world-making, and that play is about inventing invented realities. It is about creating a world, physical or virtual, inhabiting that world, and then eventually becoming inhabited by it.” – Edith Ackermann, “Playful Inventions and Explorations: What’s to be… Read more »

Snow – A Great Maker Material

We’ve all done that classic maker activity at one time or another: the paper cut out snowflake. Most makers would agree that paper is one of our most basic, essential materials. For me, many of my earliest “Making Memories” are from time spent playing out in the snow! Therefore I would like to suggest that… Read more »

Trendy, Educational, or Creative? Solve the robotics kit dilemma!

In 2015 an association of local businesses asked me and some colleagues to organize a robotics after school lab for five different first-grade classes in the Bologna area. Our committee had seen the milkBot, a little robot that combines the  open-source Arduino microcontroller with scrap material, and they wanted to offer a similar creative experience… Read more »