Maker Camp in Cleveland

from Jeff Good, WR Public Media

Please pass this on to your interested teachers!

Western Reserve Public Media’s popular summer experience, Camp MakeIT is returning this summer!

Thanks to continued support from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, this year’s camp will be supported by the Cleveland Mobile Fab Lab during the creation process with an emphasis on the Design Process.  During the three day event, participants will learn about the “Making” process while working in groups brainstorming, designing, creating and presenting a “product”.  Many other “maker” products will be introduced including (but not limited to) Makey Makey, Scratch, Ozobot, Lego Robotics, Minecraft and many others.

Camp MakeIT will take place June 19-21 at Western Reserve Public Media in Kent, Ohio.  A $50 camp fee will be required by all accepted attendees.

One hour of graduate credit is available from Kent State for an additional fee.

If you or anyone you know might have interest in this event, please share with them the following interest survey.

The interest survey will be open until May 15th.  Survey participants will be notified of their acceptance into the camp on May 16th.  The camp is limited to 25 participants.




Jeff Good
Director of Education

Western Reserve Public Media
Public Television (WNEO/WEAO)

and Educational Services for Northeast Ohio
1750 Campus Center Drive
Kent, Ohio  44240


330-474-5039 Fax
Check out our latest Professional Development Schedule at
Visit our website at


Got Camp? Lists of STEM Camps and Experiences Middle to High School Aged

Please feel free to share this list – or save for next summer!!
( Working on a database or spreadsheet version, for campnow use <ctrl> + F to search this page for specifics.

Summer Programs for Math and Engineering

For summers after
9th and 10th grades, or non-competitive entrance

University of Cincinnati Women in Engineering and Men in Engineering Summer Camps (sign up the day registration opens—fills EARLY)

Michigan Math and Science Scholars Competitive admission, apply early. For 9th, 10th, 11th 12th.  Applied Physics, Astronomy, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Math, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Physics, Program in the Environment, Statistics

GoIT Three-day Camp at TATA facility in Milford, OH Learn to program Lego Mindstorm robots.

iSpace Robotics Camps  One-week camps at Scarlet Oaks for rising 8th through 10th graders include Tetrix Robotics, AquaBots and rocket-building using Lego Mindstorm NXT robot engines. About $230 for the week.

Gedanken Problem-Solving Institute For 12-17 year-olds. One week day camp at Baldwin Wallace, July 7-11. Applications accepted until July 1. $399.

University of California COSMOS Competitive admission. For 9th-12th. 4-week summer residential program for high achieving math and science students at UC Davis, Irvine, Santa Cruz and San Diego. Application open Feb. 1 to March 1. 

PROMYS at Boston University  Six-week summer program at Boston University designed to encourage strongly motivated high school students to explore in depth the creative world of mathematics. Open to 9th-11th graders. Advanced seminars for returning students. Cost $2800. Need-based financial aid available. Applications available in February and decisions made between April 1 and May 30.

Ross Mathematics Program at OSU Six weeks. Intensive summer experience designed to encourage motivated pre-college students to explore mathematics. During those six weeks, students are immersed in a world of mathematical discovery. Open to students ages 14-18. Cost $2200. Some financial aid available. Deadline May 1 but may fill before deadline.

University of Akron SEE US—Summer Experience in Engineering for Girls Open to girls in 9th, 10th, 11th and 12thgrades. One week in June. $460. Partial scholarships available. Applications due March 31.

Canada/USA Math Camps 5 weeks at Colby College in Maine. Take a qualifying quiz. Cost $4000 but financial aid available.

Design it! Build It! Summer Engineering Workshop at Dartmouth Design, analyze, and build engineering prototypes. One-week in mid-July. $1750. Open to any high school student.

Smith College Summer Science and Engineering Program for High School Girls

Union College EDGE (Educating Girls for Engineering) Two weeks. Study special needs children and design tools and toys for them. Apply before May 1st. Cost $1800. Scholarships available.

Purdue EDGE for Girls Completing 9th and 10th grades

Purdue PREFACE for minority students finishing 9th and 10th grades

WPI Frontiers (two weeks)

Ohio State Exploring Engineering Through Robotics for rising 10th, 11th and 12thgraders

Wie RACE one-week residential camp at OSU for young men and women, current 9th and 10th graders

PASTFoundation Summer Programs for high school students—Nexus of anthropology and technology for 9th, 10th11th and 12th

Ohio Supercomputer Summer Institute for rising 10th, 11th and 12th grades

University of Dayton Women in Engineering Summer Camp, Minority  Engineering and Technology Enrichment for Young Men, Summer Honors Camp and Pre-Engineering Summer Camp

INTERAlliance of Cincinnati Summer Information Technology Camps  For rising juniors. Seven possible one-week sessions in July and August learning about IT opportunities in businesses in the area. Students are housed at UC, Miami or NKU. Cost $250. Deadline May 1st. Strongest students from the sophomore year summer can get paid internships for junior year summer.

LEAD Summer program in STEM for underrepresented students: Accepts 150 high school sophomores with an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. Students participate over two summers in 3-week residential Summer Engineering Institutes at 6 of the top engineering schools in the nation. Financial Aid available.

National High School Game Academy Computer game design at Carnegie Mellon. Six Weeks. $6,700. Open to all high school students.

Proctor and Gamble Resident Scholar Program One week job-shadowing for underrepresented students in June in R&D. Apply by March 1st

For summers after 11th and 12th grades, or competitive admission

Duke Energy Academy at Purdue Free one-week camp for high-achieving 11th and 12th graders to study energy solutions. Deadline Feb. 16.

Ohio State Summer Academy in Engineering, Ross Mathematics Program, and Stone Lab Biology

Rose-Hulman Operation Catapult    Two weeks.

Vanderbilt PAVE Open to rising 11th and 12th graders. Six-week prep for pre-med, engineering, science or tech majors.Cost $6000. Rolling admission, deadline late April.

Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation

Purdue STEP (Seminar for Top Engineering Prospects) One week. Application opens Dec. 3. Apply early.   

Purdue MITE (for minority students) finishing 11th grade. Recommended application deadline of Dec. 13.

MIT MITE (for minority students) Six weeks, all paid for. Applications due Jan. 15.

MIT Research Science Institute

MIT Women’s Technology Program Application due Jan. 1.

USC/Chevron Frontiers of Energy Resources Summer Camp  Competitive selection. One week camp in mid-July open to rising seniors. Room and board and materials all paid for by Chevron. Applications due at the end of April.

NASA WISH (Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars) Open to female high school juniors. Apply by Dec. 1, then complete a series of on-line tasks and webinars by May. Go to NASA in August for three days.

Cornell Engineering Experience  Six weeks. Applications due first of May.  Cost $10,000.

Cornell CATALYST  One-week engineering program for minority students currently in grades 9, 10, 11. $1400.

Summer Programs in Technology and Computer Science

University of Cincinnati Computer Science Summer Camp Two weeks, for 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th (Sign up the day registration opens—fills early)

NKU Summer Computer Science Workshop: Game Programming in Java  One week in July. $40.

Miami University Camps in Digital Game Design Two week-long camps offered by an outside company on the Miami campus.

Miami University Girls on the Go: The Mobile Computing College Experience FREE one-week mobile app camp in August for girls finishing 9th and 10th grades. Offered by Miami’s own Computer Science, Software Engineering and Systems Analysis Dept. Application due May 31. Need As and Bs in math and science.

Ohio Supercomputer Summer Institute for rising 10th, 11th and 12th grades

INTERAlliance of Cincinnati Summer Information Technology Camps  For rising sophomores as well as juniors. Seven possible one-week sessions in July and August learning about IT opportunities in businesses in the area. Students are housed at UC, Miami or NKU. Cost $250. Deadline likely May 1st. Strongest students from the sophomore year summer can get paid internships for junior year summer.

National High School Game Academy Computer game design at Carnegie Mellon. Six Weeks. $6,700. Open to all high school students. Taught by Carnegie Mellon faculty and inspired by their graduate program in Entertainment Technology.

RPI Computer Game Development Academy   At Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute. Two-dimensional or three-dimensional game design academy. Two two-week sessions. $3,000 each.

More (apologies for Repeats….)

Summer Opportunities for Gifted/Talented Students 


Miami University 

Summer Opportunities Ages: Elementary to High School 

A listing of summer programs in different areas including architecture, art, music, theater, and digital game design.

University of Cincinnati Women in Engineering and Applied Science Summer Camp Ages: Must be a female entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in fall 2013. Should have demonstrated                    interest in mathematics and science.

This one week day camp will allow you to develop your creativity as well as provide you with the opportunity to meet and speak with working engineers and computer scientists.

Men in Engineering and Applied Science Summer Camp Ages: Must be a male entering the 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in fall 2013. Should have demonstrated             interest in mathematics and science

This one week day camp will allow you to develop your creativity as well as provide you with the opportunity to meet and speak with working engineers and computer scientists.

Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders (TL2) Ages: HS Juniors 

Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders (TL2) is a highly selective, three week summer program for high school juniors. TL2 participants will learn to better understand Cincinnati’s neighborhoods and economy, why jobs are scarce in some communities and abundant in others, why some jobs pay more than others, and how individuals from all backgrounds can become entrepreneurs and successful business owners.

2013 Summer Camp in Computer Science Ages: Students entering grades 9th through 12th in Autumn 2013 are eligible to apply.

Computer Science Department will host a Summer Camp for High School students during the summer of 2013. It will be a day camp for two weeks.

Wright State University

Residential Camps  Ages: grades 6-9 

Camps are offered throughout the summer. Participants live for one week in campus residence halls and are supervised by a trained residential staff, on-duty 24 hours a day. Camps are offered in Archaeology, Engineering, Computer Technology, Creative Writing, Leadership, Mathematics, Photography, Science, Television Production, Theatre Arts, and more.

Institutes Ages: Students entering grades 10-11-12 

One week residential programs offered in Anatomy and Physiology, Archeology, Communications, Creative Writing, Engineering, Forensic Science, Law, Nursing, Performance Theatre, Poetry, Science and Technology.

Discovery/Odyssey  Ages: Students entering grades K-9 

Summer enrichment courses at Wright State University are designed to stimulate your child’s creativity and enthusiasm for learning.

University of Dayton

Summer Honors Engineering Camp Ages: Gr. 9, 10. 11

The University of Dayton’s Summer Honors Engineering Camp offers hands-on projects allowing you to experience engineering. In these courses, you will have the opportunity to use our state-of-the-art facilities and interact with our professional faculty and engineering students.

Women in Engineering Summer Camp 2013 Ages: Entering Gr. 10, 11, or 12 

The Women in Engineering Summer Camp is a six-day residential camp for high school women entering either the tenth, eleventh or twelfth grade.  Participants are immersed into the world of engineering through experiments, innovation modules, a day with industry, and dinner with an engineer.

Minority Engineering and Technology Enrichment Camp for Young Men Ages: The program is open to minority high school men who will be seniors in the fall, are U.S. citizens, and are  currently enrolled in a college-preparatory program with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

This weeklong camp will introduce you to career opportunities in engineering and technology with college-level classes and    exciting hands-on experiments. Academic coaches will help build the skills that you will need to ace the ACT and SAT. And you will learn about the college admission process, including how to select a college and apply for scholarships.

Summer Laureate Program Ages: Grades 3-8  

The Program, for high-academic achievers, allows students the opportunity to expand their knowledge within a university setting.  Sessions focus on a variety of topics including math, science, language arts and critical thinking. Contact Lelia C. Boyd, PhD.  513-753-9143  Please leave a message

Sinclair Community College Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (WiSTEM) Ages: Girls Entering Grades 10, 11 & 12

The institute is designed to allow young women to explore career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

WaterBotics Ages: Grades 6-12  

STEM topics in the program include gear ratios and programming (math), buoyancy and forces (science), and engineering design and problem solving (technology).The curriculum is designed to satisfy the students’ need for knowledge as they apply the concepts in the project. There will be no one asking “Why must I learn this?”. The students will use the information immediately in a fun way thus learning information that will be used in the future as well.

Ohio State University

Stone Laboratory  Ages: High School 

Stone Lab’s one-week introductory courses provide students with a first-hand glimpse of life as a field researcher. Courses cover the physical and biological sciences and offer hands-on learning experiences ranging from capturing and preserving insects in Insect Biology to examining lake sediments and trawling for fish in the Oceanography class. Open to college and advanced high school students, these 3 quarter-credit courses are held throughout the summer.

Ross Mathematics Program Ages: 14-18 

The Ross Program at the Ohio State University is an intensive summer experience designed to encourage motivated precollege students to explore mathematics. During those six weeks, students are immersed in a world of mathematical discovery. /

GRASP Summer Camp Ages:Middle School Girls 

The GRASP Summer Camp is a 5 day long day camp for middle school age girls hosted by the Ohio State University       Department of Physics Undergraduate Studies Office in coordination with physics faculty, staff, and students. Each day       consists of hands-on, interactive physics demonstrations and projects followed by a physical activity that shows how physics      relates to everyday phenomena.

Wie Race Ages: Male and Female Students entering Grades 10 or 11 in the Fall of 2013

Hosted by the Women in Engineering Program (WiE) in The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering, WiE RACE       (Reaching A Career in Engineering) is a six-day, residential summer camp focused on engineering and engineering-related       careers.

Wie Rise Ages: Women entering Grade 12 in Fall   

Hosted by the Women in Engineering Program (WiE) in The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering, WiE RISE is a       six-day, residential summer camp designed to introduce female students to Ohio State’s undergraduate engineering majors       and related  career fields.

The Country School Farm

Ages: 6-12

A resident summer experience in Ohio for children who love animals and the outdoors.  Students participate in the day-to-day life of a real farm located in Holmes County Ohio.

Cincinnati Museum Center

Day Camps 2013 Ages: 7-12

Summer break means learning and fun at Cincinnati Museum Center. Children between the ages of 7 and 12 can immerse themselves in their favorite topic for an entire week. Summer Day Camps run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.  Call (513) 287-7021 or visit

Dayton Art Institute

Summer Art Camps Ages: 5-17 

Mini Art Camp  Grades Pre-K and Kdg   Fall of 2013

Let your child explore, learn and create! Young artists will explore museum galleries, learn new and exciting things about art and create masterpieces of their own during a week of half-day camps.  Mini-explorers will create 2D and 3D art with paint, clay, paper mache and much more. Campers will also read stories and visit the Experiencenter, a space devoted to young learners.

Youth Art Camp Grades 1, 2, and 3   Fall of 2013 Full day camps exploring a variety of art topics..

Youth Camp Special Topics Grades 4,5, and 6  Fall of 2013       Full day camps exploring a variety of art topics..

Art Intensives  Grades 7, 8, and 9  Fall of 2013 An in-depth exploration and training focusing on one medium each week including drawing, painting, and jewelry


Ohio Business Week (OBW) Ages: Be a current high school sophomore, junior or senior      

An exciting weeklong summer program that gives eligible high school students from around the state a unique, hands-on experience with business and entrepreneurship. Students learn directly from the pros how to establish and run their own company. Hosted on a college campus, students are also able to experience what campus life is like and lay the groundwork for a successful future!

Ohio Leadership Institute Ages: Elementary, Middle School, and High School Students.

The camps are leadership-based camps packed with leadership building activities, lively sessions, and recreational activities specially designed to build, enhance, and develop leadership skills.

Camp Invention

Ages: Grades 1-6 

A weeklong summer enrichment day experience for children.  Visit the web-site for locations in Ohio.

Ohio Supercomputer Center

Young Women’s Summer Institute Ages: Current Ohio 6th and 7th grade girls

Young Women’s Summer Institute (YWSI) is a week-long program sponsored by Ohio Supercomputer Center for middleschool girls in Ohio. It is designed to promote computer, math, science and engineering skills as well as provide hands-on experiences.

Air Camp Ages: Students entering 7th, 8th, and 9th grade in the Fall  

Air Camp is a brand new adventure in flight for middle school students, which takes place at the birthplace of aviation – Dayton, Ohio.  The purpose of Air Camp is to inspire students to new heights of scholarship, leadership and citizenship, as they experience the wonders of flight and study the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) of aviation.

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery /Dayton

Summer Discovery Camps Ages: Pre-K through 8th Grade 

Building, thinking, experimenting and creating are the basis for activity-packed classes designed to nurture creativity, teamwork and kids’ interest in science.

iLead Workshops Ages: 7th-10th Grade 

Expand your horizons and discover the possibilities at Boonshoft iLead Summer Workshops.

Sunwatch Indian Village

Summer LORE Camps Ages: 4-14       SunWatch offers an exciting and diverse array of Summer Camp offerings, suitable for children of all interests and ages,        ranging from 4 – 14 years

K12 Gallery Dayton

Summer Art Camp Ages: K – 12th Grade 

Week long summer art camps are held Mon-Fri from 9:30 – 3:30. Each day includes two art classes and a field trip to observe  artists at work in our community.

Camp Kern

Summer Camps Ages: 5-16

Camp Kern offers a variety of camps for students.


Shakespeare Summer Camp

Ages: Middle School and High School

Shakespeare Summer Camp is a one-week theater day camp for middle school and high school students who want to learn more about the art of theatre.  Campers work with members of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Acting Ensemble, learning acting, stage combat, movement, and text analysis for the actor.

Young Women Writing for a Change 

Ages:  Girls entering Grades 4-7 and Teens entering Grades 8-HS

Classes for young women are open to girls entering grades 4 through 7, and to teens entering grades 8 through high school.   All classes and camps for girls and teens use the art of writing and other modes of artistic expression to enhance self-esteem and build skills in creative self-expression. Participants learn to receive and give honest support and encouragement, build and keep community, and identify role models who inspire creative life choices.

Mad Science Camp

Ages: 5-12   

Children will enjoy a variety of hands-on activities and engaging demonstrations. They will bring home “make and take” projects each day for additional learning and experimentation.

Summer Stock Kids Theatre Camp

Ages: 8-12 

Directed by Adventures In Theatre instructor Jene Rebbin Shaw, Summer Stock Kids is a summer theatre camp which culminates in a production that is totally produced by Jene and the kids – sets, costumes and props. And considering that the kids are ages 8 – 12 the challenges are great but oh, so rewarding for the young performers as well as family and friends.

Aerospace Camps 

Ages: Students who have finished Grades 2-9

During the summer, the National Museum of the United States Air Force offers 5 different week-long summer day camps with aerospace themes.  Base clearance is not required to participate in the camps.  Registration opens March 1, 2013.

ASM Materials Camp

Ages: Grade 11-12

ASM Materials Camp® Student Camps are for high school students with strong abilities in math and science who have completed their sophomore or junior years. There’s a lot to do at ASM Materials Camps, and best of all, it’s free.

Cincy Nature Camp

Ages: 3-15 

CincyNature Camps offer week-long, nature day camps for children and teens ages 3 through 15. Camps take place from June through August at Cincinnati Nature Center’s two sites: Rowe Woods in Milford and Long Branch Farm & Trails in Goshen.                                                                                                                                      

Cincinnati Zoo Summer Camps

Ages: 4-12  

The zoo offers a variety of full-day and half-day, week-long camps. If you are looking for a fun, safe, and educational camp during summer break the Zoo’s got it! All Zoo Camps are age-appropriate and are guaranteed to be a WILD time.

Miami Valley Summer Jazz Camp 

Ages: Middle and High School 

Meet new friends; improve your jazz music knowledge & skills; and make beautiful music by joining about 100 Miami Valley Middle and High School Student Musicians.


Ages: Grades 4-9              Camp OFLA is an elementary foreign language camp for students in grades 4-8 sponsored by the Ohio Foreign Language         Association.  Students entering Gr. 4-6 may choose from Chinese, German, or Spanish.  Seventh and eighth graders may        choose between French and Japanese.  Activities include Language learning, Ethnic cooking, dancing, singing, sports, arts        and crafts, campfires, games, and swimming.

Denison University

Be WISE Summer Camp Ages: Entering Grades 7 or 8 in the Fall 

Be WISE is a mathematics, science and technology camp designed to develop interest, excitement, and self confidence in          young women who are entering grades 7 or 8 in the fall of 2013.  It is a residential camp held on Denison’s campus in        Granville, OH.

Sunrock Farm Summer Camp

Ages: 5-11

Sunrock is a hands-on educational farm in Wilder, KY offering summer day camps.  Students will have opportunities to work       with animals, help with farm chores, plant and harvest vegetables, and participate in recreational activities such as craft       projects, games, and music.


Taft Art Museum Summer Camps Ages: Students entering Grades 3-12

The Taft Museum of Art offers exciting studio sessions as campers discover art through gallery tours and hands-on activities.                                                 Campers will look at, think about, and create art inspired by the Taft’s collection and the special exhibition Photographic          Wonders: American Daguerreotypes from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.Each week-long session culminates with an       exhibition organized by students and staff for family and friends.

Rose-Hulman Institute for Technology

Operation Catapult Ages: Students entering 12th Grade in the Fall 

This chance “to go off to college” as a high school junior may be just what you’re looking for. It even goes beyond the         classroom, giving you a peek into the realms of engineering and applied science through project work – projects you develop         yourself, along with your team.

Ohio Association of Gifted Children 

Opportunities organized by regions around the state.

Thanks you our College College Counselor – Sarah Beyreis and IA Chapter President Moya Ly

Thank you!

steampunkinThanks to every one who joined us on that beautiful day, we know you were temped to clean the gutters, or rake the leaves, instead you came to learn, connect, and even make!

We’ll be posting photos and PowerPoints from the session speakers as well as a shopping list of items for your makerspace of every budget (even the make-at home ones, too).

Congrats to our winners of the signed copies of Invent to Learn, a great starting point from Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager!  Thanks to our sponsors, presenters, teachers and volunteers.

So close we can taste it!!



Our schedule is wrapping up and nearly complete.  Presenters are mostly in the morning, with a number of hands-on activities throughout the day.maker15

We open to the public in the afternoon – with more crafts, hands-on learning and discovery for folks of all ages and interests!

More folks are adding each day – so forgive the flexing nature of the program.  Programs, maps, speakers bios and more will be available in the printed program when you arrive.

Lunch is available through the Cincinnati Food Truck Association, prices for most meal items will be in the $6.00-$9.00 range. (Trucks take cash and most will take plastic)

Bring your questions, ideas for a lesson or activity and get ready to LEARN!!

See you all soon!


So you want to build a MakerSpace…?

Over the last couple of years, when talking to teachers about Maker Spaces like Hive13 and Manufactory, here in Cincinnati, or just talking about new approaches to providing opportunities for students in innovation, problem solving, design and creation, the questions usually comes up – “But how do I create a MakerSpace in my school?”

I think the best and simplest answer is –

1. Start small.  Rarely do we have an opportunity and do anything at scale the first time, so I would say start with a few activities that give students the opportunity to design, build, and just create with their hands.

Assume nothing.  Don’t assume that students have had a chance to run a glue gun, or pick up a hand tool recently, so take every opportunity to build learning into the process, but make it discovery driven.  Start with the bare essentials of safety, and let students explore, test, iterate, and fail. (Did I mention safety?)

I wish everyone would take 5 and watch Gever Tulley’s 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do

For me – it captures a childhood of play, discovery and a few scrapes and bruises that invites exploration, curiosity and a Million Why?’s.  Yes – there’s fire – of course, but we know there is tremendous growth that happens in the brain from discovery, exploration and play. (see below)

2. What will you do with a space?  What do you hope students would do?  Can you do those things today (albeit it may be a little more squished and awkward),  can you put things on carts?  Can you store stuff in tubs?  Surely there may be a corner in a cupboard, or some old TV’s, file cabinets, etc that may afford a little room.

As student (and fellow faculty) interest grows, spaces seem to free up a little more with collaboration, and demand from interested students and parents.  One of three reading nooks in a library of dwindling print resources may get a small table, a cart and a few bins to refresh a learning space.

Challenge student with bridge building; break from testing day.

Activities?  Simple projects like designing a simple solution of a ‘bug’ in life with craft materials will get students thinking about empathy, design and iteration.  Make a bug wall of items that ‘bug’ students in their daily life to solve.  These may include:

  • where do all my unmatched socks go?
  • why does the dog always want to go out when it’s raining?
  • how can i remember when it’s my turn to do _______ (insert chore name)
  • how can i build something to automatically water mom’s plants?
  • fill a birdfeeder in the winter with deep snow?
  • …you get the idea

Perhaps instead – if students are stuck – have students solve an engineering challenge like “make a device to move a ping pong ball 20 feet.” They can use found objects, recycle bin treasure (washed) and you can set constraints (no batteries or cords).

3. Let students drive discovery and learning – pick a space in the classroom, and inviste students to post ‘hard’ questions (those not easily answered with the help of Google) and see how students fair in their learning, research and even prototyping.

Mobile Maker Cart


See, the space is wonderful, but the intention sets the tone, and creates the environment of curiosity, discovery, creation, trial though iterations, and design.  By creating habits of minds fur students, you can easily add more materials and tools to go with it.

Look at short circuits – the hobby electronics kits that someone may love to get out of their basements, or LittleBits for electronics.  Consider glue guns, box cutters and cardboard rivets like Makedo.  Try out a Finch Robot, or an Ozobot – depending on age and see where students want to go.

Of course – though messy, a tub of Legos can go a long way for tactile play and design, as well as engineering and physics curriculum that can easily be found online.  Hack a small motor and 9volt battery instead of a$250 Mindstorsm kit and see if there is interest in robotics, and let it grow from there.

Tubs can store lots of donated items, stack on warehouse or old shelving.

One of the best successes that I have had is accepting donations of old technology equipment, where students can find old motors, wires, LED’s and more and can also simply disassemble an appliance or old printer to see how it works.  You may find servo’s linear rods and more which may come in handy for a student wanting to create simple automation.

Get out there, be brave, and be curious.  Start the conversation with your students and ask the questions – what can I do with 1000 Popsicle sticks?  See where discovery will take you.


References for the above include – from Gwen Dewar’s Cognitive Benefits of Play,  -For a popular defense of the benefits of play, check out the book
Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn–and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less
by developmental psychologists Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Diane Eyer (Rodale 2003). It’s a good resource for parents who want to resist the pressure to “over-program” their children’s lives. The authors make a strong theoretical case for the cognitive benefits of play, and offer many research-based suggestions for making playtime more stimulating and educational.
And here are the scientific studies cited in this article:
Bjorkland DF and Pellegrini AD. 2000. Child development and evolutionary psychology. Child Development 71: 1687-1708.
Buchsbaum D, Bridgers S, Skolnick Weisberg D, Gopnik A. 2012. The power of possibility: causal learning, counterfactual reasoning, and pretend play. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 367(1599):2202-12.
Carlson SM, White RE, Davis-Unger A. 2014. Evidence for a relation between executive function and pretense representation in preschool children. Cogn Dev. 29: 1-16.
Dickinson, D.K., & Tabors, P.O. (Eds.) (2001). Beginning literacy with language: Young children learning at home and school. Baltimore: Paul Brookes Publishing.
Fisher, Edward P. (1992). The impact of play on development: A meta-analysis. Play and Culture, 5(2), 159-181.
Gordon NS, Burke S, Akil H, Watson SJ, and Panskepp J. 2003. Socially-induced brain ‘fertilization’: play promotes brain derived neurotrophic factor transcription in the amygdala and dorsolateral frontal cortex in juvenile rats. Neuroscience Letters 341(1): 17-20.
Gosso Y., Otta E., Morais M. L. S., Ribeiro F. J. L., Bussab V. S. R. 2005. Play in hunter-gatherer society. In The nature of play: great apes and humans (eds Pellegrini A. D., Smith P. K., editors. ), pp. 213–253 New York, NY: Guilford.
Greenough WT and Black JE. Induction of brain structure by experience: substrates for cognitive development. In: Gunnar MR, Nelson CA, eds. Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology: Developmental Neuroscience. Vol 24. Hillside, NJ: Lawrence A Erlbaum Associates; 1992:155-200.
Huber R, Tonini G, and Cirelli C. 2007. Exploratory behavior, cortical BDNF expression, and sleep homeostasis. Sleep 30(2):129-39.
Inzlicht M, Schmeichel BJ, and Macrae CN. 2014. Why self-control seems (but may not be) limited. Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Lewis P, Boucher J, Lupton L and Watson S. 2000. Relationships between symbolic play, functional play, verbal and non-verbal ability in young children. Int J Lang Commun Disord. 35(1):117-27.
Pelligrini AD and Holmes RM. 2006. The role of recess in primary school. In D.Singer, R. Golinkoff, & K. Hirsh-Pasek (Eds.), Play=learning: How play motivates and enhances children’s cognitive and socio-emotional growth. New York: Oxford University Press.
Pepler DJ and Ross HS. 1981. The effects of play on convergent and divergent problem solving. Child Development 52(4): 1202-1210.
Stevenson HW and Lee SY. 1990.Contexts of achievement: a study of American, Chinese, and Japanese children. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 55(1-2):1-123.
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Makedo Giveaway!


Makedo is giving away 100 sets of Toolkits on Sept 12, scru2016!

Makedo is the popular cardboard creating toolset that includes the wrench, cutter and scribe tool as well as 21 Scru’s and 7 XL Scru’s to join section of cardboard together to make walls, moving arms, rolling wheels and more!!

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CET Joins Us October 15, 2016!


CET will be offering a special 3-hour morning workshop during the Maker Fest!

Building on a widespread movement toward using hands-on activities to cement learning new concepts, this workshop will guide you in developing strategies for hands-on learning in all content areas. Perfect for applied learning in science, mathematics and the arts, ‘making’ is also appropriate for projects in English language arts (think: story settings) and social studies (think: historical artifacts).

Participants who attend the workshop will:

  • Get excited about the new strategies and tools for making and hands-on learning as ways to engage more students;
  • Learn the basics of creating a school makerspace;
  • Discover where the pedagogy of hands-on learning comes from;
  • Design a maker activity to support your teaching.

(Supply fee of $30 will be in addition to the event if you wish to participate.  Event registrants will be sent an email invite with more details )