Today 12 teachers from around the county of San Diego convened at FabLab in Downtown to participate in CraftED’s Make and Take Challenge. This challenge was recently recognized by the White House as part of the National Week of Making as an authentic commitment to the Maker movement sweeping the country. The goal of this professional development experience was simple: provide teachers with tools to support their desires and efforts to integrate Making into the curriculum; but the process was far from simple. Read on to find out how we did it…

An Engaging Launch

IMG_2782After an introduction to the frameworks of NGSS and Design Thinking teachers were asked to put their student caps on and prepare for a wild ride. Teachers were then introduced to an expert from the urban planning team from Makers Quarter who provided background on the surrounding space of Fab Lab and the mission and vision of this new hub of innovation in the East Village. The following Driving Question was then presented: How do we make walking more enticing in the Makers Quarter? And teachers were then told they would be creating a 3 dimensional object to address this identified problem. 

Building Empathy
Before we could dive into solving this problem, teachers had to live the first step of the Design Thinking process, which is better understanding the end-user. Teachers took to the streets of the identified Makers Quarter, accompanied with Field Note graphic organizers, clipboards and curious minds. IMG_2786Teachers then returned to FabLab where we debriefed what we saw, checked our assumptions, got some inspiration for thinking outside the box and…

After a quick brainstorming session teachers were turned loose to utilize the materials provided and the tools and technology of FabLab to create a model or a device that would directly address the DQ of the challenge. All hands were on deck for a solid hour as teachers worked together in a team of 3-4 to create a final product. Products ranged from underground systems and improved sidewalks, to gaming walls and dynamic shopping experiences.


Feedback and Reflection
Teachers presented their ideas to an authentic audience, in the urban planner for the Makers Quarter, and also to their colleagues. With the feedback they received teachers were then able to think about how they would improve their prototypes moving forward. We wrapped up our time with a block party protocol that asked teachers to think about their experiences today and their own practice-what they would extend, scaffold, modify, improve, etc.

It was wonderful to work with an energetic and dedicated group of educators. CraftED is thrilled to provide similar experiences this summer to teachers in southern California- Check out our next event at FabLab and two more events on mindset and collaboration for deeper learning in August. Join us!