“I want us all to think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, whether it’s science festivals, robotics competitions, fairs that encourage young people to create and build and invent — to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.”
—President Barack Obama at the National Academies of Science (April 27, 2009)
The Maker movement is spreading, and MAKE and Otherlab have teamed up to advance the creation of “makerspaces” nationwide with the Makerspace program. They’ve developed a Maker Club Playbook for the Young Makers program and a Makerspace Playbook (still in draft form) for building a public spaces for making, along with a comprehensive materials list. And the Maker Faire produced an interesting report on “Innovation, Education, and the Maker Movement,” highlighting the promises and opportunities for making in education.
We really like the idea of “plussing sessions” outlined in the playbooks:
Plussing sessions provide an opportunity for project teams to share their ideas, progress, challenges, and next steps with the participants in the program on a monthly basis. (Plussing is a termed used at Pixar to mean “finding what’s good about an idea and making it even better”).…
Here are a few of the kinds of questions you might get during these sessions:
- What is your project vision?
- What inspired you to pick this project?
- Do you know of other people who have done projects similar, or is this one-of-a-kind?
- What other project ideas have you toyed with?
- What kinds of projects have you built in the past?
- What do you think the hard parts are going to be? What are the easier parts?
From GE’s Defense Products page, “delivering advantage to today’s warfighters,” “for the toughest mission applications”: