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Work Through the Design Process

Here’s a quick lesson you can do with your students to learn how to use your Makerspace while teaching students to enjoy the process.

Give your students a selection of pieces. These can be any material you have available. We used bottle caps, straws, tape, index cards and string. We also had scissors available. You can use these materials or use what you have in your Makerspace. The items should be flexible enough to let students explore.

What is the Problem? Tell students they are going to create a wall sign for the Makerspace.

Explore: Ask students to look at the materials that are available, but during this stage they are not actually making the item (so no cutting or taping should be happening). It should include discussions with group members or looking at the materials-even playing with them to get some ideas. Many of our students asked for writing tools and we intentionally did not give them any as we wanted them to reach outside the box for how to make the sign. Use your judgment.

Plan: Give students some time with the materials to plan out what they want to do. This stage doesn’t need to be formal-as in they don’t need to draw or write it down. Save writing and drawing for more complex tasks.

Create: Let students start creating. They’ll make mistakes with their materials, so be clear about how waste will be handled before you start. Be clear about how many pieces of tape they’ll get and what happens when their tape is all twisted and tape together. Push your students to be creative (without sending them right over the edge and ruining the rest of your day).

Test: For this stage we asked students to hold up their signs to show to the other groups. Could they be easily read? Did they stay together? They collected feedback from their classmates on how they could improve.

Refine: Students returned to their signs to improve them further. We kept cycling through the stages until we were happy with the results.

And remember, teacher your students your Makerspace rules as you work. How will they get materials? How will they clean up? Where can they work? How can they work?

We created a poster set to use in our Makerspace. Students use it when working through their creations. We’d love to see your students’ wall signs. Send us a photo or share your thoughts in the comments below.

Love the Ninjas

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