Engineers Week Webinar with Sylvia Martinez of Invent to Learn

January 22, 2019

Engineers Week Webinar

(Edited 2/14 to include webinar recording and list of resources mentioned.)

To honor Engineers Week, we hosted an informal webinar with author and maker advocate Sylvia Martinez. Gary and Sylvia have just updated and expanded the must have maker movement resource for schools: Invent to Learn.

In this practical guide, Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager provide K-12 educators with the how, why, and cool stuff that supports making in the classroom, library, makerspace, or anywhere learners learn.

Check out our chat with Sylvia about the new edition of Invent to Learn and listen in as we discuss tips for starting a makerspace in your school. (Webinar was recorded on February 12th at 4:00 pm CST.)

We gave away a few books from Constructing Modern Knowledge Press (CMK press) live during the webinar! This is a great series of books for new and veteran maker educators. Grab your copy of Invent to Learn, The Invent to Learn:Guide to Fun, or The Invent to Learn Guide to More Fun.

Resources mentioned during the webinar:

Sylvia and Colleen chatted about a lot of things! We wanted to share the books, resources, and other links with you. Plus, all of the participating educators had a lot to say in the chat! We wanted to also share some of their great wisdom.

Books Mentioned

CMK Press: Sylvia and Gary's Publication House

Invent to Learn: Newly expanded and updated! There is a whole new chapter on physical computing!

Image from Invent to Learn- used with permission

The Invent to Learn:Guide to Fun: A full color maker ed project guide by Josh Burker. The projects range from Makey Makey, paper circuits, Scratch coding, and more!

The Invent to Learn Guide to More Fun:  Even more projects that will lead you and your students to hard fun!

Pertinent Links

Sylvia's Blog: Learn about upcoming opportunities and more!

Download Posters: Think Make Improve Robot and More!

Physical Computing: A resource from Invent to Learn

Constructing Modern Knowledge Summer Institute: A Four Day Summer Workshop with Gary and Sylvia.

Mandi Figlioli's Padlet of Resources: Resources mentioned by an educator in the chat.    

Maureen Tumenas: I went to Infosys Pathfinders last summer. Best PD I ever attended.  

Nicole Lakusta: Ideas for making - go to the Coding, Programming and Makerspaces tab - hover and then scroll to the item that you are interested in. I've put examples in early years, middle years, high school.

Beanz magazine for kids has an article about "Useless Robots"  This article talks about making stuff and learning from the making process.

Advocating for Maker Education (Thoughts from the educators on our chat!)

Nicole Lakusta: "Tinkering allows students develop all sorts of competencies - critical thinking, collaboration, managing information, global thinking, etc.... that are all applicable to any career and jobs that don't exist yet."

Kathleen Fugle: "Many school districts now promote 4Cs or the equivalent (we say "Portrait of a Graduate")--this makes it easier to justify spending time and resources on maker education."

Nicole Lakusta: "Math is both procedural and conceptual - not just about memorization but about the experiences, discussions, etc."

Kathleen Fugle: Making is cross-curricular.  Those who incorporate making have to think creatively about the standards and make the types of connections that @Susan describes above.  And they have to practice making for themselves

What are must haves for makerspaces?

People often ask this question! During the webinar, Sylvia mentions that every school and every makerspace is different. However, Gary and Sylvia have come up with their "Desert Island Maker Toolkit."

Image from Invent to Learn- used with permission

You can now download this poster at Invent to Learn!

Some open-ended (open beginning/ open middle) ideas for Making?

Maxine Sprague: "Nature is a phenomenal classroom for sparking technological advancements. We need to get kids out in nature, to fill the creative technological space with bio-inspiration leading to bio-mimicry. Combining Science and Art is key. Leonardo Divinci is the perfect role model for this. I use nature as inspiration for Design Thinking - encouraging iterative prototyping."

Susan Mahood: "We use Virginia content standards of learning - for example my 2nd graders are making talking famous Americans using Makey Makey, Third grade is creating a tool to rescue Appleblossom the Possum. Their tool must include a simple machine. My fifth graders are building sky scrapers with transparent, translucent and opaque windows and using they knowledge of circuits to light up the fifth grade sky scrapers."

On wording and semantics

Maxine Sprague: "If you use the term prototypes, kids will reflect on their projects with an eye for improvement, lessening the pressure. Students will be able to say, "Here is my project, and if I didn't have this constraint, I would have done this, this, and this. Everything in the world is a prototype. Think iPhone and Car - new prototypes every few months/years.

Students should be comfortable with failing fast. Teachers visiting my classroom for an inquiry event were blown away when one of my students quoted our mantra, "Failures just mean that I have to look at it another way!"

What about students that "waste" materials?

Jill Hodges mentioned in the chat, that "creative constraints encourage creativity! We make kids “buy” their robot parts."

So Sylvia discusses the benefits of teachers using the constraint of asking students "buy materials."  This often leads kids to being more choosey about materials and wasting less. (See the video to hear more about this!)


 Thanks for joining us, Sylvia!

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