STEAM, STEM, and Making


by Tracy Rudzitis -

What do these words mean? How are they interpreted by teachers, by administrators, by students, by politicians? 


In the past few months I have been a part of a number of discussions surrounding this question. The conversations are genuine and in most cases have the best interests of students and learning in mind. There is one thing that I have noticed, there can be a wide range of perspectives and responses to these questions.


What can these scraps reveal?


by Erin Riley -

Twice a week I coach an Odyssey of the Mind team.  All week I collect scraps, recyclables and cast away objects to bring to meetings for them to peruse.  The process of searching through these materials inspires the gadgets they create, the props they invent, and costumes they fashion.  Through the practice of re-purposing and upcycling, the team engineers through both limits and possibilities.  The raw material is limited; what they would normally use to solve a problem is not always available.


Global Space Balloon- Engaging Kids in Something Big


by Mark Schreiber -

It may be snowing right now but that doesn’t mean that my kids are idle by any means…. We’ve only got 6 weeks left until we launch a balloon to space!  Yup, that’s right its Global Space Balloon Challenge time!  If you haven’t heard about this great project, or just want to know more then read on. 

Global Space Balloon Challenge is in its second year this year and has gained significant traction since last time this year.  I think part of the reason is that they have made it really easy to get started with an amazing set of resources on their main site.  There are also great prizes this year like, Best Photo, Best Experiment, Best Charity and on and on.


Make the space speak to the kids: Experience from a visit at Bourn Idea Lab


by Nalin Tutiyaphu... -

(This blog post was written in Feb 2015. Thanks to Sylvia Martinez for editing this blog post.)

Last week, I got a chance to visit the Bourn Idea Lab, a FabLab@School at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. I spent one and a half hours observing interactions in a maker class for my study about learning environment and interaction in maker lab. I'd like to share my learning experience in this post about how impressed I was by the wonderful learning environment in the school's maker lab. Thank you Angi Chau and Heather Pang for supporting my visit.


Overview - Lighthouse Creativity Lab


by Aaron Vanderwerff -

Recently I was tasked (or really I tasked myself) with creating a writeup of our program at our (Lighthouse Creativity Lab) website.  When I heard  there were questions about embedding making and a maker mindset into standards based curriculum, I thought I would share my writeup here.  In addtion to this overview, we have narratives of ongoing projects at our site. As a public charter school, we are working to integrate making into a CCSS and NGSS aligned curriculum and we are working with other schools in the area to do the same.

Making and the Reggio Emilia Approach: Making the Connection


by Christa Flores -

Our task is to prepare children socially, emotionally, intellectually and morally to further the advancement of our culture: a righteous and heroic task! Countries such as the oft-cited Finland (there are three different links here), and methods such as the Montessori Method (only one link) involve would-be teachers in a rigorous selection and training process. The teacher must be a perfect observer, attuned to the interests of the student and their developmental needs, ready to deliver the gift of an appropriate learning prompt to each student or student group. The teacher must also be a skilled documentarian, documenting and assisting the child to self-document the learning process. Sufficiently thorough documentation of learning in process can be one way to lead away from direct assessment and avoid a bias toward focusing on the product or artifact.

Documenting a project using a “failures box”


by Susanna Tesconi -

At Laboral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, I worked with 6 groups this year from primary school to high school, each one with a different project. Consequently a lot of prototypes are hanging around the fabLAB. In order to keep the lab not too messy I decided to have each group fabricate stackable boxes by modifying a design from thingiverse.


FabLearn Fellows Blogs - Maker Teachers Make It Work


by Sylvia Martinez -

The 2014/2015 FabLearn Fellows cohort is a diverse group of 18 educators and makers. They represent eight states and five countries, and work with a wide range of ages at schools, museums, universities and non-profits. Throughout the course of the year, they will develop curriculum and resources, as well as contribute to current research projects. Their blogs represent their diverse experience and interests in creating better educational oportunities for all.