Teachers workshop: Learning by making

We have done a couple of different versions of the learning by Making workshop for teachers previously and this time, decided to focus on deconstruction and transformation of toys.

Radin Mas Primary approached us for this workshop as they were in the process of setting up a makerspace and wanted a better understanding of the kind of learning that happens in a makerspace.

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Twenty seven teachers joined the workshop, many of whom came from non-Science backgrounds. – Science, Drama, Physical Education – but it was wonderful seeing the teachers leverage on each other’s expertise to complete the tasks assigned. At some point during the session, teachers were very impressed by a multi-talented fellow PE teacher who was a great artist and constructor!

We started session with a brief introduction to learning to make and how learning by making differs from traditional learning. We followed it up with the Yes And and the Yes But game developed by the D-school in Stanford.

We had two activities around the which the teachers explored the role of maker centered learning – Toy take apart and Toy transformed.

While some groups were hesitant to dismantle the toys, everyone eventually completed the task and took all the toys apart – right down to the last DC motor. The teachers then explored more about how their respective toys functioned and were fascinated to find that most of them comprised very simple mechanisms. They then shared their findings with each other and embarked on their next task – to utilise the old toy parts to reanimate a chicken!

The room was abuzz with excitement as the teachers exercised their creativity to come up with interesting ideas to complete the task. It was a pleasant sight to see the teachers purposefully using different materials and tools, such as hot glue guns and soldering irons, to animate their toy.

The session culminated in a sharing of all of the various toys created and it was indeed interesting to see the final products.

We hope that the teachers will be able to apply what they’ve learnt to create a safe and encouraging MakerSpace in school.

The half day workshop Learning by Making is offered with four different themes to choose from. A minimum of 20 teachers are required for the workshop. For more details, please contact Kiruthika (kiruthika_ramanathan@science.edu.sg)

1.       Make a simple robot with everyday materials

2.       Electronic art

3.       Interfacing with Makey Makey

4.       Chain Reaction machines

About the writer: Nichelle is a student from Raffles Secondary school. At the point of writing this article, Nichelle was interning at the Science Centre for two weeks and facilitating various Maker programmes

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