Mini-Blog Collection

All-American Boys  

American Born Chinese   

An Abundance of Katherines   

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging  

The Bell Jar  

The Body of Christopher Creed  

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas  

The Book Thief  

The Chocolate War   

Dear Miss Breed   

Diary of a Teenage Girl  

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl  

The 5th Wave   


Gale Student References in Context 

Girl, Interrupted   

Girls HBO Series Volume 1  

Hope in Patience  


Marching for Freedom   


On the Road  

The Perks of Being a Wallflower  

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light  


Say What You Will   

Seventeen Magazine 

Seventeenth Summer

Summer of my German Soldier   

Superman: Red Son

Teen Beach Movie Soundtrack    

Testing & Education Reference Center    

To Kill A Mockingbird   

Two Boys Kissing   

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass     


Makerspace Final Project INFO-287


Introduction of the Makerspace Proposal 

Kensington-Normal Heights Branch Library

Dear Administrator,

I am writing this letter to respectfully request funding needed for a very worthwhile project in our community’s library- a makerspace.  As a librarian, this project is very dear to me. This is something our young library patrons need.

A makerspace is a space where kids can make or do just about anything their imagination can think of. This space usually involves various tools, materials, and machines. If a child wants to figure out how a clock works, he can grab a broken clock and take it apart. Once he takes it apart, he can figure out how it works. That is learning by doing.   “…children should engage in tinkering and making because they are powerful ways to learn.” (Martinez, 2013)

I have listed the funding needed to get our makerspace started. I am requesting a  $25,000 grant to begin our makerspace. I have worked tirelessly to make certain that this proposal comes to fruition.

Please let me tell you more about our library:

The mission of the San Diego Public Library is “To inspire lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other”. Our branch is in the San Diego Public Library system, a system that includes the main Central Library and 35 branches.

Our proposal is to provide a makerspace at the Kensington-Normal Heights Branch library for children and young adults in our communities. Our library serves two communities. The Kensington-Talmadge and Normal Heights have a combined population of 30,000 people. The demographics include many families with children of varying ages. Households with children in both communities are approximately 40% of the total population. The general budget designated for programs in our branch for 2015 was $15,000. The circulation for our branch is 7000 average per month.


Justification for Value: 

Libraries are . . . essential to the functioning of a democratic society . . . libraries are the great symbols of the freedom of the mind.    Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Kensington-Normal Heights Branch Library is in need of a formal makerspace.  The only alternative in the neighborhood is a very expensive business called Snapology. Although Snapology offers many enriching activities, they charge expensive fees. These fees are beyond the reach of many households in the neighborhood.  It is essential to produce an open and accessible space where all children are welcome, regardless of income.

Between the two communities we serve, we have three elementary schools, two parochial schools, two preschools, a substantial home-schooled population, and a recreation center. Much of our patronage consists of families with school-aged children. In another neighborhood we serve, the demographics are different, as single mother households comprise 25% of the population. Because financial circumstances vary, our community needs an easily accessible makerspace.

Our proposal will help fill the need for a community makerspace.  Our branch is already filled with vibrant and curious children, since the branch has a homework center that is available during after school hours and on weekends. That is the time of day when our branch is bustling with children and young adults. It’s a perfect opportunity to feed their young minds, and “to inspire lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other”.

We are in the middle of a park that includes a playground on one side and an open park on the other side. This library is truly a community center.  In A New Culture of Learning, Thomas and Seely explain their concept of “arc of life” learning. It is described as the daily life activities of learning, growing and exploring. “Play, questioning, and- perhaps most important- imagination lie at the very heart of arc-of-life learning.” (Thomas, 2011)  What other stage of life than childhood offers us unlimited adventures, discoveries, and play time? This is the time when we get to question everything and let our imaginations run free.  This is the golden time of youth. It’s that precious time when everything is possible and learning is never-ending.

This golden time is when the seeds of growth, development, and potential are planted into the minds of the young. The planted seeds are the very foundation of a makerspace. What better way to cultivate these seeds of learning than through our very own civic center, the public library? Libraries are the foundation of our democracy, giving all individuals access to our services.  This is the ideal space. “Young makers grow up and become world-changing engineers and leaders, and they in turn encourage new generations of young innovators. The world needs young makers. And these young makers need makerspaces.” (Kelly, 2014)

A question that might come to mind while reading this is “why a library?” Why not a recreation center, or an after school program, or a museum? Some of these institutions might have some form of makerspace, but is not as welcoming as a library. Placing a makerspace in a library is not only a great idea, but it is shrewd as well. A library is a perfect location, as the ALA STEM resources task force explains, “Many libraries… already provide some support to tweens and teens in the area of STEM, but are probably not seeking out the available grant funding to support it… By providing fun programs that incorporate STEM ideas, libraries can spark an interest in their young adult patrons and demonstrate to the community the important role the library provides in helping prepare teens for a 21st century workforce. Libraries already offer access to the tools necessary to pursue STEM projects such as computers and devices, and Internet access, which young adults may have only limited access to at school and may not have available at home. Public libraries often have more freedom in programming options than schools, and can help to fill some of the gap American youth are experiencing in STEM education. With fewer restrictions on time and content, public libraries in particular can provide the opportunity to experiment, allowing tweens and teens the time for trial and error. There are no grades or formal evaluations for students in a public library, which allows for a stress-free environment to play and find inspiration.” (STEM, 2013)  As an institution, we are already providing the important services young people need. Let’s get some funding to contribute to what we are already offering.

Children who participate in makerspaces do not learn alone. Side by side, they will form bonds with their peers as they share in problem solving and inspiration. Makerspaces give children a non-regimented, relatively unrestricted, yet safe space to challenge themselves intellectually, emotionally, and mentally. Imagine just one child who gets the value of lifelong learning out of these experiences. One child. Inspiring one child alone is gratifying.

Now imagine this scenario not just with one child, but a whole community of children. They will have the opportunity to make anything that they can dream up in the confines of our space. With technologically advanced equipment at their disposal, they will always remember having a wonderful experience at their neighborhood library. When children thrive, the whole community benefits.  As these children grow into adulthood, they will pass on the benefits of the library to their own children. They will introduce their own children to the wonders of the public library.


proposed makespace floorplan



Staffing, Space, and Programming Recommendations:

The makerspace will be led by various full-time, half-time, hourly staff, and volunteers throughout the day. The space itself will be open after school hours during Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The space will be available Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Our branch will be assigned two hourly staff whose job titles will be renamed Makerspace Assistants (MA). These two positions are funded through a separate state-wide library grant.  The newly-assigned MAs together fill 40 hours of makerspace assistance per week. In addition to the MAs, the existing staff assigned to the branch will fill in the remaining time gaps.

Assigned staff are responsible for ensuring that all tools and supplies are safely cleaned, put away, and locked. In the event that the assigned staff is absent, a designated permanent staff person from the branch will be in charge of ensuring the safety of the makerspace. This staffing requirement does not include volunteers. The makerspace will operate 34 hours per business week, Monday through Saturday.



At the beginning of this makerspace, the majority of our volunteers are expected to be parents. We are in the process of signing them up to become approved volunteers. Parents who are not able to volunteer have pledged money in order to get our makerspace up and running. In addition to parent volunteers, we will recruit students from local high schools. These high school students are required to serve volunteer hours in in order to graduate. There should be very eager young adults to fulfill their volunteer requirements. “Reach out to local makerspaces, hackerspaces, tech shops and individual makers to find volunteers who would be willing to help out in your classroom. Museums, science centers, and libraries are adding makerspaces to their venues. Parents can volunteer too! These new collaborators may bring more than expertise to your school. Local maker mentors may also share materials and tools you need.” (Martinez, 2013) We might have to recruit people to help us initially, but the kids will be thrilled, “Whether you start slow and small or fast and large, kids aren’t going to complain. They want to be challenged and they’re hungry to learn.”  (Kelly, 2014)


Special Programming

We will offer a special workshop/activity every other Wednesday. The workshop will consist of an assignment, all necessary materials, and seating. Attendance at these workshops will be limited to 10 participants. If the workshops are successful, and in order to give equal access to all children, signups for every child will be limited to every other workshop. If space permits, the children will be given slots based on a waiting list.

Every workshop will have a special theme. For example, the first themes will be  e-textiles, 3D printing, woodworking, Arduino, and sewing. During the workshops, the available stations of the makerspace will be open to children for independent activities.

We will continue to define the work in our space as the school curriculum evolves. Our mission statement will continue.


“A makerspace playbook contains ideas for makerspace safety and rules” (Martinez, 2013)


Our makerspace will have a very prominent playbook on display. The makerspace will be available to children ages 5 to 18. All machines that require adult supervision or training will require a child to go through an hour-long training that will be available to them as time permits. When training is required, a child must be at least 8 years old to handle the power equipment and have a signed waiver on file. No child is to attempt to work the machines without an adult on site.

This space will require 300 square feet to utilize. This will include all equipment, furniture, fire zones and safety requirements, and a designated closet for storing supplies.

All volunteers and staff are required to attend a safety training, including first aid, CPR, and AED training, a 2 day workshop on how to work the 3D printer, 3D scanners, and all power tools and equipment. All volunteers are also required to have a background check, fingerprinting and adequate references.

Participants of the makerspace will be required to attend one training session. Once attended and completed successfully, the child will receive a finished certificate. Along with that certificate, a signed parent permission form in triplicate will be required to keep on file.

Teaching safe behavior is our goal, not just automatically following posted safety rules. “Be careful that the safety rules don’t become curriculum. Rules are important and necessary, but they don’t make children safe—careful behavior does.” (Martinez, 2013) Ensuring the safety of the children in our makerspace will be a top priority.


Marketing and outreach

We want to make sure kids are enthusiastic and get involved in the makerspace. “Let’s give them access. Let’s find mentors and teachers and volunteers to help them get started and then let them run. And let’s find the funding, whether from bakes sales and raffle tickets or a couple of gracious checks from local businesses.”  (Kelly, 2014)  Local businesses will love to help sponsor an exciting new makerspace. It will help them give back to the community and will also give them some positive marketing for their own company.

Makerspace projects that children want to share will be displayed in the glass case at the front of the library.  This will give patrons a preview of the enriching programs they can expect to see by giving donations

The more people see that this is a worthwhile project, the more inclined they will be to contribute to it. . “…share information about your successful STEM initiatives and programs in order to make sure the community understands the value that the library is providing (and so that others in the library community can learn from them!)”.  (STEM 2013) We will place a donation box, website information, and other pertinent information where the public can donate money, materials, or time.  Projects can also be displayed in local businesses next to a donation box. A full description of the makerspace and its’ goals will be attached. We will also market the makerspace through the neighborhood schools, community newspapers, community businesses, after school programs, homeschool resources, and online through our events calendar.


“Do something, get going, and refine as you see what works in your classroom. Don’t let shopping get in the way of action.” (Martinez, 2013)

We will invest in the necessary supplies to start a basic makerspace. We will then determine our needs as our supplies are used. Some supplies will need to be maintained regularly. For example, a 3D printer will always need a restocking of filament. The most popular colors can be purchased on the initial purchase, with special colors purchased on request. Wood, paints, paper and drawing materials will be restocked.  Any outside materials may not be used in any of our machines.

We will have a wooden bin so that the community can donate miscellaneous supplies, such as paper products, remnants, wood, and textiles. We want children to learn about the value of upcycling. Most anything can be reused. The only limit is the imagination.


Crayons and paint can and should co-exist with digital tools.” (Martinez, 2013)


Buying the newest 3D printer, or the most expensive set of tools is not going to determine the success of the space. The use of a makerspace begins with a belief that learning is all around us, no matter what tools we use. “There is no absolute shopping list of must haves. There is nothing that is a fatal flaw if it’s missing. Making do with what you have is a virtue. If you can’t afford a 3D printer, don’t have a perfect space, or are a bit fearful of electricity, you can still create an experience that is comfortable, creative, and fun for your students.”(Martinez, 2013) Our supply requests are filled with what we believe are the necessary components to what we need in our specific makerspace.



In this proposal, we are requesting an amount of $25,000.00. These are essential, carefully thought-out estimates of supply needs.  The proposed budget includes equipment, furniture, staff training, and program costs. The following is a projected list of supplies needed for the first year:


Item price quantity website Total
MakerBot 3D desktop printer 1,999.00 2 3398.00
Large 10-pack PLA filament 430.00 10 4300.00
Desktop 3D scanner 799.00 1 799.00
Glowforge Laster Cutter/ Engraver 2395.00 1 2395.00
CNC Milling Machine 367.33 1 367.33
Socket Wrench Set 299.00 1 299.00
Power Tool Kit 259.99 2 519.98
Tool Storage Combo 1823.98 1 1823.98
Laptops & Software for Makerspace 500.00 3 1500.00
Wearable Electronics Kit 99.99 1 99.99
Make Soldering Kit 64.99 2 129.98
Make Raspberry Pi Kit Deluxe Kit 129.99 2 259.98
Tesla Coil Kit 229.99 1 229.99
Arduino Kit 74.99 3 224.97
MAKE Magazine Library of Books, Magazines, Subscriptions, etc. 500 1 500.00
crayons, paints, charcoal pencils, markers, pens 100 1   100.00
Workshop bench 119.95 3 359.85
Hydraulic work stools 80.79 8 646.32
Workshop tables 189.99 3′-workbench-black/p-00910138000P?plpSellerId=Sears&prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1 569.97
Miscellaneous safety gear (goggles, gloves, towels, etc.) 100.00 1   100.00
Fire extinguisher 80.00 1 80.00
First aid/CRP/AED Deluxe Kit 199.95 1 199.95
Computerized Sewing & Embroidery Machine 300 2


Training per year  of all makerspace equipment, first aid, AED, CPR (including volunteers) 500 7 3500.00
TOTAL $23,003.29


Plan for Ongoing Operations

Learning is based on asking questions and then finding the answers through our own curiosity. “Every answer serves as a starting point, not an end point. It invites us to ask more and better questions.”  (Thomas, 2011)  If our plan is successful, we will continue to ask better questions.

In addition to our initial budget, we will regularly raise funds for our space’s ongoing costs. We will appeal to parents, community members, and local businesses. We are in the process of planning a wish list, and will request that donors buy directly from that list.

As a library, we have some important goals to accomplish with this makerspace.  The success of the space will determine the direction of the space. After the first 12 months of operation, we will re-evaluate our needs as a makerspace. Part of this evaluation will come from feedback from children, parents, and the community. The success will be based on a rubric based on our expectations for the space.


The success of this space will be measured by a competed rubric. The rubric will outline the expectations of the space and the preferred outcome. The success of the makerspace will require a “good” score to justify a second year. An example of a rubric is shown below:





Conclusion of Proposal

Like planting the seeds of learning, “One of the metaphors we adopt to describe this process is cultivation. A farmer, for example, takes the nearly unlimited resources of sunlight, wind, water, earth, and biology and consolidates them into the bounded and structured environment of a garden or farm. We see the new culture of learning as a similar kind of process- but cultivating minds instead of plants.” (Thomas, 2011) Let’s cultivate the minds of the children in our community. Let’s help to plant the seeds of lifelong learning.  “Think of yourself as an informal educator and your library as a site devoted to supporting lifelong learning opportunities.”  (STEM,2013)  .  As librarians, we will do everything possible to encourage that learning. The requested budget will help to push our ideas forward.

In conclusion, our Mission Statement says it all: “To inspire lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other.” A makerspace will inspire a love of lifelong learning through the connection to their neighborhood library.

Thank you for your consideration,

Mariana Sandbo



Johnson, Mica, Brittany Witte, Jennie Randolph, Rachel Smith, and Karen Cragwall. ”Mobile Maker Spaces.” School Library Journal (2016): School Library Journal. 3 May 2016. Web. 11 Aug. 2016.

Kelly, James Floyd. ”Kickstart A Kids’ Makerspace.” Make Magazine 7 Apr. 2014: Web.

Martinez, Sylvia Libow, and Gary Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom: Constructing Modern Knowledge, 2013. Kindle.

Mobile Maker Spaces by Mica Johnson, Brittany Witte, Jennie Randolph, Rachel Smith, and Karen Cragwall. School Library Journal. 

“STEM* PROGRAMMING TOOLKIT.”, 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 11 Aug. 2016.

Thomas, Douglas, and John Seely. Brown. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace, 2011. Kindle.



Week 10 reflection post

 What was the most interesting thing you learned from a class colleague this semester?

Was the content of this course what you were expecting it to be? What would you like to have spent more time learning? Less time focusing on?

What was your favorite project or reading you worked on this semester? If you had to eliminate a project or reading, what would it be?


This class has reminded me that learning is a lifelong process. We learn at home, in school, museums, and in libraries. Makerspaces are a big part of the learning environment. Unlike a formal school setting, makerspaces are informal and flexible learning environments where learning happens through doing. “…children should engage in tinkering and making because they are powerful ways to learn.”  This class has given me some hands-on experience with learning through making, and it has been very educational. I have a new appreciation for makerspaces. Since libraries are community hubs, we are a vital part of learning through makerspaces.

What drives us to make?  “Making things and then making those things better is at the core of humanity” (Martinez, 2013)  One of the great things I’ve learned is that makerspaces come in all sizes and contain all types of materials. I used to think makerspaces had to have the latest 3D printers, or other expensive electronics. I have learned, thanks to this class, that “making” means ANY kind of making, from crafts and crayons, to the most advanced electronics. Making encompasses anything using any material imaginable.

Even as adults, we are constantly learning. “Throughout life, people engage in a process of continuous learning about things in which they have a personal investment. Learning that occurs outside of schools or the workplace- through hobbies, reading, the media, and so on- is almost always tied to their passions.” (Martinez, 2013) It’s not something we always think about, but learning something that we have a passion for is easy. We are invested in it. Since learning is a lifelong process, every day promises new things to learn and see. We also have to pass that mindset on to children. You are not just learning something only when you are in a formal class setting.  The opportunity to learn is everywhere.

I learned to play Minecraft with my kids.  The games & learning project was my favorite assignment of the class. Getting to play with my kids let me see the game through their eyes. It was fantastic.

My least favorite assignment was the Maker Faire project. I think it was because it was in the context of a graded assignment, and like many students, my project didn’t progress as expected.

My favorite book was “Invent to Learn” because it helped me to see learning in a way I hadn’t seen before.

I can’t pinpoint the best thing I’ve learned from a class colleague this semester, but I’ve found that reading all of the blogs and comments have helped me see how each one of us learns and takes away something different from the same lesson. “Different people, when presented with exactly the same information in exactly the same way, will learn different things…” (Martinez, 2013)  Those different viewpoints have complimented what I have learned. I’ve been able to see the same lesson from other people’s point of view.

As someone who has worked in libraries for many years, this class has revitalized my belief in the importance of libraries.  We are in an era where information is constantly changing, “Learning in an age of constant change simply never stops. In the new culture of learning, the bad news is that we rarely reach any final answers. But the good news is that we get to play again, and we may find even more satisfaction in continuing the search.” (Thomas, 2011)  I am now ready to play.


Martinez, Sylvia Libow, and Gary Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Contructing Modern Knowledge, 2013. Kindle.

Thomas, Douglas, and John Seely. Brown. A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace, 2011. Kindle.




Project 3- LIBR 287 Maker Faire

My maker project was the owl lamp seen above. Like many maker projects, this was a fun and frustrating assignment. The process is always different than you imagine, you run into obstacles not anticipated, and the finished product doesn’t turn out quite as expected. I am not new to projects like this, and I understand the frustration. I definitely had “mouth up” moments as described in Invent to Learn, “Mouth up frustration occurs when you get stuck while solving a problem or learning something you care about.” My mouth up moments came when I used a 3D printer for the first time and made an owl lamp.

I’d only recently acquired the printer. Since I’d only had it for a short time, I didn’t have any experience working with it. It was pretty much plug and play, just as described. The only thing I had to do was follow the prompts to level the printing bed. The instructions were on a flash drive, so that was easy to access.

I had to get acclimated to the machine. Even though the machine itself is easy to set up and turn on, you still need to know how to send files to the printer. I never thought about how 3D printers work.  I was always under the assumption that a 3D printer worked the same as a regular computer printer.

To make something, you have to create a file to send to the printer. First, I had to find out how to get a file. I searched for 3D printing software and was surprised to find that there were many free programs available for personal use.

I needed a beginner program, so I read some reviews that recommended Tinkercad. Tinkercad is a website where you can make an STL (STereoLithography) file that the 3D printer can read.

I decided that I wanted to print out an owl.  I tried to make one from scratch on the software, but that didn’t work.  I just assumed that putting a few shapes together and editing it would give me an owl. But instead, the shapes thrown together looked nothing like an owl.

I know that with a lot of practice, I’ll be able to make an owl from scratch. But not for this assignment. While browsing the internet, I found the website Thingiverse. Since Thingiverse was also mentioned in our reading, I’d thought I’d give it a try.



Thingiverse is an online community where people share files of the things they’ve made. The files are free to download and modify. The only caveat is if you post a picture of a file someone else made, you give credit to the original designer.

At first, I felt like I was cheating by not making an original file, but after reading in Invent to Learn, “In learning to program, design 3D objects, or make breadboards, copying is not cheating. A great way to learn is to take existing programs or projects and modify it slightly. Each iterative change makes the program or design more your own. In the real world, an engineer’s most important skill is being able to find appropriate things to borrow.” (Martinez, 2013)  I felt relief that it was acceptable to modify an existing file. It’s nice to know that professionals do that, too. I “made it my own” by adding a couple of holes in the owl to make sure the light from the lamp would go through.

My owl edited on Tinkercad & ready for the slicing software

Once the file was edited and ready go, I had to send it to the printer slicing software on the computer. This is separate from the design software Tinkercad. This separate software is called slicing because it “slices” up the file so it knows exactly how to print it from the inside out.

Slicing…not as bad as it sounds


I set up the printer with filament. The printer only has one “extruder” or a tube that the melted plastic goes through and prints.  I can only print one color at a time. Some expensive machines have more than one extruder. Mine is a budget version.

On my first attempt, I had a tough time sending the finished file to the printer. First, the printer was not synced to the computer. Then, I kept getting random error messages. After many attempts, I printed out the 3D file.

My first owl

My first print job didn’t turn out so well. The owl’s head started curling around the edges. I used the help menu on my printer’s software. It suggested using supports and rafts. Supports are the tree-like “branches” holding up the print job where there is overhang. This is supposed to prevent a print job from falling over. The raft supports the bottom. It keeps the print job from slipping around by giving it a firm base.

screen capture maker fair
supports message

After I sorted out the supports, I tried printing my owl again. Success! Once I got used to it, I printed owls in different colors. Then, I printed out a couple of “logs” from Tinkercad so the owls would have a base.

I made this file on my own.


What a mess!

After printing everything out, I had to glue it all together. I didn’t put much thought into which glue to use. My first choice was super glue, but that didn’t work. I settled on a hot glue gun. After I glued everything together, I printed out some apples and ivy to cover the dried glue. After a couple of attempts, I was able to print out the ivy. The apples were a bust.



My last step was to figure out a light source. I decided on a battery-powered string of LED lights. I wrapped the string of lights in between the owls. Once I finished my project, I had a moment of “mouth up frustration”. I was very proud of myself for getting through it.

3D printing is not a fast process. In total, the owl lamp took about 10 hours. That includes the whole process, including errors. That was unexpected. I know that 3D printers are a must in many maker spaces, but I didn’t realize how long it takes to actually print something out. A maker space in a library setting would work as long as the staff set realistic expectations about the constraints. 3D print jobs might be limited to a certain size because of time constraints, but as long as the spirit of the maker movement is there, the limitations of the space shouldn’t matter, “These spaces share the ideals of making, tinkering, collaborative learning, and invention.” (Martinez, 2013)

During this process, I felt happy, inspired, frustrated and ultimately satisfied with my project. I was a beginner who figured it out on my own. I had my “mouth up” moment.  As Maria Montessori said, “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” A child working on a project should be given the respect to have their own “mouth up” moment, too.

Martinez, Sylvia Libow, and Gary Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge, 2013. Kindle.

Week 8 reflection

“Never help a child with a task at which he feels like he can succeed.” – Maria Montessori. How do you feel about this quote in terms of your own educational experience?


 When interrupting a child who is learning, their whole cognitive process is disrupted. As a child, I remember that some teachers would be quick to offer solutions without giving me the proper time to figure things out on my own.  That is one of the problems with the time constraints of schools.  If kids do not figure things out in the allotted time, a teacher will assume that the child needs help.  Martinez explains the Iterative Design Cycles of teaching in Invent to Learn. These cycles include  planning, making, testing, adjusting, then making again. “Even asking a child ‘Hey, watcha doin?’ Is disruptive. It’s up to each and every reasonable educator to determine the appropriate level of disruption.”

Much of the time, adults get in the way of a child’s learning and play.  Do children look like they need help? From an adult’s perspective, maybe. But they don’t.  As Dr. Spock is quoted in Invent to Learn, “a child loves his play, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”

I remember many “mouth up” moments from my childhood.  Usually involving playing outside, trying to figure out how to put the chain back on my bike, fixing a broken toy, or trying to figure out how something worked.  “Mouth up frustration occurs when you get stuck while solving a problem or learning something you care about. Kids often smile during such tests of will and are ecstatic once they outsmart the temporary speed bump. Great satisfaction and self-efficacy results from these momentary spells of mouth up frustration.” (Martinez, 2013) Anyone interrupting me as a child would have ruined my “mouth up” moment.

As a child, figuring out how to do something was a very personal experience for me. My working brain was not on a time constraint.  We have to expect kids to be able to figure out solutions to problems on their own. We are not being unreasonable to hold them to higher expectations. “Most often, kids will exceed our expectations, especially if exceeding our expectations is our expectation. ” (Martinez, 2013)

 Martinez, Sylvia Libow, and Gary Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. N.p.: Constructing Modern Knowledge, 2013. Kindle.


Week 7 reflection

How do Piaget, Dewey, and Papert fit into the modern day maker movement?


John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Seymour Papert were influential in education in the 20th century.  They believed in active learning. Learning by making, failing, experimenting, and engaging are all examples of active learning.

Dewey (1859-1952) viewed education as self-directed, “He viewed the process of education as continuous growth across a lifetime, resulting from personal motivation and resistant to external forces… He advocated for students to be actively engaged in authentic interdisciplinary projects connected to the real world. In Dewey’s view, education should prepare children to solve problems in a methodical fashion resulting from careful observation and previous experience.” (Martinez, p 14) Dewey believed that the school system should move away from strictly controlled schooling into more of an exploration of real world ideas and practices.

Some of the ideas of Piaget (1896-1980) and Dewey intersected . Piaget believed that schools need to create polymaths. “The Piagetian idea that “to understand is to invent” (Piaget, 1976) shaped how teachers taught and how children learned.” (Martinez, p 1)

Polymaths are people who excel in many different subjects. This is something that is not seen very often today. As Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt discusses in Invent to Learn, “…in the Victorian era, the same people who wrote poetry also built bridges. (Robinson, 2011) Lewis Carroll wrote fairytales and was a mathematician.” (Martinez, p 3)  All children have the potential to be polymaths. In today’s educational system, why are children often reduced to being only good at math, or excel only in reading? Learning should be a process that is filled with activities that promote active learning and participation.  This participation unleashes the curiosity of a child to learn and familiarize themselves with everything; to become polymaths.

Formal education often focuses on the results of test scores, where students are fed facts to memorize answers for tests, not for long-term learning. As Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, believed, “Knowledge does not result from receipt of information transmitted by someone else without the learner undergoing an internal process of sense making.” (Martinez, p 13) Piaget’s theory of learning is consists of making, tinkering, and engineering.

Papert (b. 1928) is a co-creator of Logo, a computer programming language. For Papert, computers were vital to education, even in 1968, “He not only advocated that children should use computers, but that they should make things with them via programming.” (Martinez, p 18) His views on computers were that children should not just learn how to work on a computer, but how they could make a computer work by creating things with it.

Learning is a unique experience, as every person absorbs information differently. The Maker Movement has a strong foundation in the educational theories of Dewey, Piaget, and Papert. True learning by an individual is a very personal experience. Learning styles are unique. This theory has allowed the Maker Movement to thrive. It’s not a one size fits all experience. “Children’s seminal learning experiences come through direct experience with materials…For the first time ever, childhood inventions may be printed, programmed, or imbued with interactivity. Recycled materials can be brought back to life.” (Martinez, p 2) Since learning is a personal process, we should let kids figure out how to learn independently.  We only need to sit back and enjoy watching their curiosity soar.

Martinez, Sylvia Libow, and Gary Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. N.p.: Constructing Modern Knowledge, 2013. Print.