As I have been watching my students contentedly sawing, punching holes, and finding all kinds of ways to elaborate on their projects for the Global Cardboard Challenge during the past couple of weeks, I have been more and more convinced that transforming the empty classroom next door into a Maker Studio is going to be the right thing for our learning needs.
I have started reading Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary Stager, and was wandering around the corresponding website when I found the link to “Built by Kids.” As a person who grew up with her nose in a book and never actually contemplated creating something 3-dimensional, I spent my first ten minutes on the site wishing I could relive my childhood just so I could experience these projects from a child’s perspective. And then I read the mission of Built by Kids, which includes the following statement: “Built by Kids is created WITH, BY and FOR children. We celebrate the parents, families, caregivers and educators who value the power of creative development and are nostalgic for a time when weekends were set aside for building a fort or making models.” And I realized that I don’t need to relive my childhood to enjoy projects like these. With the help of sites like DIY.org and Built By Kids, I can make sure my students can benefit from making things while I am beside them – helping, laughing, problem-solving, and sitting back to bask in their amazing creativity.