Maker Movement: Kids Making Stuff

Did you tinker as a kid? Did you play with Legos, Lincoln Logs, or take apart everything in sight? Do you have students who like to tinker? Do you know someone who is easily entertained by a cardboard box for hours on end? Look around – does this describe any students in your classroom? Yourself? Such people are generally driven by their own curiosity for learning and creating new things.

You may have heard about Caine, the 9-year-old boy who created an arcade from cardboard boxes and has become a YouTube legend. Cain, unbeknownst to him at the time, is a “Maker.”  The “Maker Movement” and DIY (Do-It-Yourself) is all the rage – people seem to want to figure out how to make their own stuff, rather than purchasing pre-packaged goods. 

The Maker Movement is a grassroots movement, refueling interest in engineering and giving kids practical skills with tools. It’s about innovation and creativity. Think cardboard boxes meets robots; think kids using wood and nails; think children programming bananas to make music; think students’ ideas coming alive in 3-D . This takes place in an environment of rebuilding, retesting, and hands-on learning that allows kids to invent and create – skills at the core of STEM initiatives.

At the heart of the Maker Movement in education is Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez who state in their book, Invent to Learn (2013),  “there’s a technological creative revolution underway that may change everything.” Invent to Learn sheds light on the history of making, the philosophy behind the Maker Movement (constructivism), an overview of the design process, information on projects, how to create a maker learning environment, and more.

Whether or not the Maker Movement is a “revolution,” it’s worth exploring. Want to learn more about the Maker Movement more? See the resources below.

Dive into the Maker Movement
Edutopia’s article (June, 2013) showcases a teacher who has a Maker program in New York.

Maker Faire
“The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth- a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.”

Make Magazine
Project ideas, a blog, videos, forums, and more

Inscrutables
Ideas for making things and sharing what you make.

Arduino
An open source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software.

Makey Makey
An easy-to-use invention kit that works with a computer program to make things. For example, you can turn bananas into a keyboard. 

PicoCricket
The PicoCricket is a tiny computer that can make things light up, spin, and play music.

The Maker Education Initiative
An organization “dedicated to creating more opportunities for young people to make, and by making, build confidence, foster creativity, and spark interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts – and learning as a whole.”