Maker Monday v4.11

Design Thinking, PBL, & Other Tinkering: News from the d.lab

In This Issue

  • Making in the Media: Computational Thought
  • Literacy based making, tinkering, & computational thinking (JK, Spanish, 3-5 ELA)
  • Design thinking (5th Grade Social Studies)
  • Engineering design & math (8th Grade Science)
  • Research Corner: Scratch Programming

Making in the Media

This is a great piece from Make: on the importance of learning computer programming concepts not necessarily out of economic motivations, but as another mode of self expression.

The creative side computational thinking has been especially visible during 5th Grade's exploration of Scratch which can be found in the Saber Spotlight section below.

Saber Spotlight

Lower School

Several teachers have been using literacy as the inspiration for some amazing projects that combine creativity, exploration, and tinkering.

Leticia Pister has been incorporating the ideas from The Art of Tinkering in her 3rd/4th Grade Spanish cardboard automata project that mergers both art and engineering. Students have been excited to use the new computer in the library to help them with their related research.

Rose Gibson and Susan Lane are encouraging their students be both artists and scientists as they create their own tiny, portable museums. Using How to Be an Explorer of the World as a guide, Junior K students have been honing their skill of analysis and observation as they build their collections.


Alicia Estrello will be incorporating robotics and programming with Ozobots as part of a Charlotte's Web project.

Meanwhile, Cindy Miller will be using Nepris to connect her class with a costume design expert to give feedback as part of a character study project based on James and the Giant Peach.

Middle School

During extension time, Susan Hall has her students creatively computing using the Scratch programming language as part of Monica Agostini's upcoming Number the Stars project.

Tom Marino, as part of a unit on economics, has been incorporating design thinking into the 5th Grade Market Day project. Using techniques from Stanford's and Ideo, students are using the human-centered design to radically rethink their approach to what they make.

Since returning from spring break, Mike Scallon has been guiding 8th graders through the next exciting phase of the science challenge: catapult design. Student have begun disassembling their go-karts and will have to use these parts to construct a working trebuchet. To help with this, they will be using their math skills to design scale models to begin prototyping their ideas.

Research Corner

For those interested in the scholarship that supports maker education, the following is an interesting summary of a paper on benefits of the "remixing" feature found in Scratch.

If you'd like to read the original paper, here is the download link for the pdf.