Mini MakerEd Workshop Kit

Problem: How do you deliver an effective MakerEd workshop with minimal materials and cost?

Solution: A mini MakerEd workshop kit that costs under $3 per participant and uses simple materials for participants to explore maker education concepts.


Background: The biggest sin a Maker Coach can commit is to give a MakerEd presentation without any thought to hands-on learning for the educators. Many Maker Coaches simply emulate the structure of a typical education conference presentation. They lecture behind a podium or table while flipping through a slide deck of highlight photos and bullet points. In part, this is due to the limitation of conferences in general. Most conference room layouts and time slots don’t encourage hands-on activities.

Maker Coaches that integrate hands-on learning into their presentations are faced with the logistical challenge of toting tools and supplies to the conference and then setting up the room and tearing it all down. The cost in terms of time, effort and dollars add up and can cast serious doubt on the value of engaging participants in making.

This was the problem that faced me when I was asked to be a featured presenter at TCEA this year. I was flying to the conference and didn’t have the luxury of packing my car to the roof with a traveling makerspace. I was also responsible for all the costs of supplies and needed to give participants a great workshop without breaking the bank.

Activities: The workshop titled, Making with Head, Hands and Heart guided participants in a series of making activities using a business card as the base material. The workshop presentation materials are available at
 Business Card: A business card is a way of making connections between two people.
Makerspace Starter Kit: A business card can be an entire Makerspace Starter Kit. MakerspaceCardA & MakerspaceCardB
Light/Simple Circuit: An LED and a battery make a light. LEDs have rules.
Throwie: LED, battery and tape make a throwie.
Flashlight: Add a business card and the throwie becomes a flashlight which is a light with power source, housing and a switch.
Light Saber: Add a colored straw and the flashlight becomes a light saber.
Vibrobot: A business card, vibration motor, battery and tape become a Vibrobot that turns vibration into linear and rotary motion.
Art Bot: Adding a crayon to the Vibrobot makes an Art Bot.
Rocket: A business card, straw and tape become a rocket.
Story Telling Tools: Adding a cell phone, participants can use the supplies to tell a story.

Mini MakerEd workshop kit:
$0.23 Mini Scissors
$0.24 CR2032 Coin Cell Battery
$0.73 Coin Cell Vibration Motor
$0.04 LEDs 3mm and 5mm
$0.26 Purple Crayon
$0.16 Custom Business Cards x 4
$0.04 Colored Straws
$0.03 Index Card
$0.05 Sandwich Bag
$1.00 Transparent Tape

$2.78 Total Cost Per Kit

*Links are just for illustration and are NOT affiliate links or endorsements.

Coaching Notes:
Creating a Mini MakerEd Workshop Kit and directing participants through the activities is not enough to create a meaningful MakerEd workshop. Throughout this journey, the participants should be guided in reflecting about the experience from both the role of student and as maker educator. They should be encouraged to think about the use of these specific materials and materials in general to engage students in learning.

Please let me know in the comments about how you solve the problem of delivering an effective MakerEd workshop with minimal materials and cost.