What is the maker movement?

The maker movement and tinker time are two hot trends in early childhood education that integrate STEAM content (Science/Technology/Engineering/Art/Math). Making or tinkering encourages learners to think with their hands. Materials are explored, manipulated and evaluated by children. Children are encouraged to “wonder” about the possibilities and develop their own understanding of how things work. Making may involve the creation of a product but the learning happens in the process.  Many maker projects will not end with a finished product. Children are encouraged to learn how to use tools and explore properties of materials. Mistakes are integral to the making process. Children need to learn how to persevere to solve problems to make progress on their ideas. Small successes are celebrated and mistakes are opportunities to try again.

 

How can you get started implementing maker projects or tinker time?

 

Start with a project: There are excellent websites that provide projects that you could do with your class: 

Create a makerspace within your classroom.  According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, “They’re places where kids can tinker, invent, and build to their heart's content. They are great for fostering creativity and hands-on learning.” You can begin by collecting items from families in the following categories:

  • Cardboard: boxes, wrapping paper tubes, ribbon spools, egg cartons. Include tape for children to use to connect items.

  • Textiles: ribbon, mesh material, fabric Include plastic needles and thread or twine.

  • Arts and craft supplies: paint, paint brushes, wire, paper, old magazines, glue.

  • Building tools:  a large supply of Legos are essential for makerspaces. Include real tools, wood scraps and duct tape.

  • Tech tools: Children can dismantle old or broken technology tools such as keyboards and cell phones.

Now, it’s time to allow children to explore and create with the materials that are provided.

 

For more information: www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/creating-makerspace-at-home.

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Training Spotlight

1st-3rd grade educators worked together to learn engaging ways to develop number sense. Students will develop fact fluency while playing games that use their number sense strategies. By learning their facts in this way, students are not merely memorizing, but rather learning to work with numbers flexibly.  “Low achievers are often low achievers not because they know less but because they don’t use numbers flexibly – they have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.” Jo Boaler,  Stanford University, 2009

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