The maker mindset constructionisim in our classrooms

The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge. -Seymour Papert

Constructionism vs. Constructivism

Piaget’s constructivism offers a window into what children are interested in, and able to achieve, at different stages of their development. The theory describes how children’s ways of doing and thinking evolve over time, and under which circumstance children are more likely to let go of—or hold onto— their currently held views. Piaget suggests that children have very good reasons not to abandon their world views just because someone else, be it an expert, tells them they’re wrong.

Papert’s constructionism, in contrast, focuses more on the art of learning, or ‘learning to learn’, and on the significance of making things in learning. Papert is interested in how learners engage in a conversation with [their own or other people’s] artifacts, and how these conversations boost self-directed learning, and ultimately facilitate the construction of new knowledge. He stresses the importance of tools, media, and context in human development. Integrating both perspectives illuminates the processes by which individuals come to make sense of their experience, gradually optimizing their interactions with the world

Inventing to Learn

Students learn best when they are actively constructing and building things that are meaningful to them and in a context that makes sense.

Self-directed learning

Students have agency and choice to engage in learning and activities that speak to them and can build on prior knowledge or interests.

OPen-ended learning

Projects and ideas need not be completed. Prototyping, iteration, exploration are all valuable components of a maker classroom.

learn from failure

Students learn to see mistakes and failures as a necessary step in learning. They develop a mindset where not only is it ok to fail, but it is essential to the refinement or improvement of a design.

Make meaning out of the world around us

Learning involves constructing meaning, not just amassing or storing knowledge for later use. A maker culture in school creates the conditions for understanding how phenomena work, how the world is put together, how our lives are engineered.


Working with others is a key component of the maker mindset. Knowing how to foster and facilitate meaning-making conversations between students will let them become more confident, self-directed learners.

Design thinking and entrepreneurship

The maker space is a place of innovation, where learners go from inspiration to manifestation; testing assumptions; understanding how parts fit together in a complex system; constantly iterating and prototyping in pursuit of better engineering and user experiences while solving real-world problems.

Problem, challenge, or Project-based learning

Learning becomes more meaningful when solving real-world problems or challenges. Setting the right context for meaning-making involves careful planning and parameters, while leaving room for choice and open-ended learning.

What materials do you need?

Glue guns

3D printer

soldering kits

Cardboard and knives

laser engraver/cutters

electronic equipment or components

Legos and other building blocks

Discarded and reusable materials

Arduinos and microcontrollers

And now for today's challenge:

Design a game: a team challenge

Your goal: In teams, design an interactive game where the player has to turn on a motor or LED light without touching it directly.

  • You must use only the materials provided
  • Your game can't be too easy that everyone wins every time
  • You have a limited amount of time
  • Your game must be interactive
  • Everyone must be involved
  • You must make a plan before building
  • It may be single, or multiplayer
  • You don't have to use all the items
  • You may find inspiration wherever you want
Mystery items!

What does assessment look like in a maker space?

  1. Reflections on learning
  2. Product AND Process
  3. Mindset and personal growth
  4. Met lesson or challenge goals
  5. Collaboration and communication


Created with images by Plusea - "Mini hot glue gun" • Geekubator - "2010-10-13_makerbot_geekubator_its_a_bomb" • WerbeFabrik - "soldering iron solder soldering station" • Dangel099 - "danby toy statuette" • rose_symotiuk - "Hans' Maker Space" • yellowcloud - "Small Electronic Fan" • mknowles - "Lego DNA" • HNDPTESBC - "right hand hand palm" • sobczak.paul - "intro to arduino" • dam - "Microcontroller circuit" • Hans - "straws tube plastic" • Amy Bonner - "IMG_3625.JPG" • Plusea - "Mini hot glue gun" • PublicDomainPictures - "bulb decoration diode" • Rosmarie Voegtli - "tension" • SixRevisions - "14_cardboard_piece_02" • byoogle - "Scissors" • fontplaydotcom - "fpx022611-01" • Public Domain Photos - "Aluminum-Foil_14964-480x360" • edenpictures - "Tape Foot" • Turntable Guy - "Lenco L90 - SANKYO DC Motor" • MorganK - "question mark question why" • SparkFunElectronics - "Coin Cell Battery - 24.5mm (PTH LIR2477)" • bfishadow - "MS Cup" • Mullica - "Rubber bands" • qimono - "idea empty paper"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.