MAKING in the Classroom: The First Step

The first step to integrating MAKING in the classroom is starting. MAKING is about doing. It is not enough to read articles or watch videos about 3D printing. You have to make the first step.

In 2005, I saw MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld at NSBA’s T+L Conference where he talked about 3D printers and digital fabrication tools. I bought his book, Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop–from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication, and read it on the airplane on the way home. I was so excited about the possibilities of digital fabrication in the classroom that I gave the book to the principal to read and then… I did nothing about it for 7 years. I had hoped that somehow a 3D printer or a laser cutter would just show up at the school. It didn’t happen. In September, I helped with the planning of a conference. We had to write a bio for the program. I wrote as part of my bio that my biggest wish was for a 3D printer for my school. I hoped that someone would read the bio and somehow a 3D printer would show up at the school. It didn’t happen.

This year my resolution was to actually start. I heard about a Makerspace at a local college and joined a group of educator from my school system that were going. I bought a subscription to Make magazine that came with Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing. I wrote a grant for 3D printers for my school. I decided that I had waited 8 years and awarded myself a personal grant to buy a 3D printer. Finally, I’ve started this blog.

What is your first step to integrating MAKING in the classroom?


ASSIGNMENT: Pick one of the following activities or create your own.

  1. MAKE something that solves a problem or fills a need in your school using the tools and resources in your classroom. Make a marker/chalk holder for your board, create an organizer for the teacher workroom, level a wobbly desk. Use scissors, staplers, tape, the 2D printer, things in the recycling bin, broken pens, etc.
  2. Buy one physical book or magazine about making/crafting/3D printing. Put it on your desk at school. Read it during lunch. Give it to someone else in your school to read.
  3. MAKE something using a crafting skill or talent that you haven’t used in a while. Pick a project that you can complete in a day or two.

HOMEWORK: Share what you’ve done to get started with MAKING. You can comment on this blog, tweet on Twitter @DesignMakeTeach #gettingstarted, or post on Facebook at Extra credit for posting a picture.