Before Making there is a Mindset


by Mark Schreiber -

My kids make stuff.  They’re not geeks, they’re girls.  Sure they know how to make an LED light up, run a laser cutter job, yep.  Yet, even with all of this, their go-to material is still paper, and tape –lots of tape. 

I think we may be making making too complex.

For years I taught a middle school Technology class I had my student’s memorize my preferred definition of technology, “Technology: A man-made object that solves a problem”.  Yes, a computer is technology.  Yes, a 3D printer is an amazing piece of technology… however, a toothbrush is technology too.  And so is tape. And paper, lots of paper.  Our student’s projects don’t have to flash, or be flashy all the time.  They just need to solve a problem and get our kids learning by doing, by creating.

Now don’t get me a wrong, it definitely is an exciting time if you are a self-proclaimed maker.  I can now precisely laser-cut with the click of a button, I can 3D print previously impossible-to-mill parts, I can code (formerly called programming) a new app and hook it back up to the physical world in ways I could only dream of when I was a kid.  But the fact is that I did dream.  I did create.  I did build very unsafe tree house forts out of reclaimed wood and rusty nails –even before reclaimed was a hip term.

So let’s not take the dreaming out of making.  Let’s not make making feel so complicated that our students feel that they aren’t geeky enough to try it.  Instead let’s create.

Here's some of projects that my kids have made.  I’ve put captions and what I think was learned in the process.  So lets not be scared of complex makes, of failing... instead lets get kids making.

These are projects that my girls came up with them using only their imagination and yes, a lot of tape.

Here’s a few examples of their builds:

Paper Bridges-

Flying Critters-  Used a balloon and found the proper wieght to make their critters fly.  

They also started to lighten the load over the days to keep the critter flying as the helium balloon started to loose lift.

Sushi Go Round-  What can I say, they love sushi.

And more precision paper-sushi crafting skills:

Pet City- Need houses for your plastic kitties?  Come on over, we have a whole neighborhood!

Paper and Tape:  The basement maker space needs a little bit of cleaning up. But it's all worth it to me!



Christa Flores's picture

Mark, I am so impressed and enchanted by these young ladies' work. I love it, thank you so much for sharing! And I am also really glad to have you bring up the reminder that technology is a tool and not something that needs to be plugged in or complex.