Kits, Making, and Tinkering: Convo with a Klatch of Makers

A few weeks ago, I noticed a tweet from Amos Blanton of LEGO, that intrigued me and reminded me of something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Here’s his tweet.

What I liked about it this is that it ties in nicely with the thought of “maker fluency” and “invention fluency.” One can only begin to get really innovative with making and creating if they are given TIME to create. Just as one must cook a lot to bake great things, our students need to make things A LOT to build their invention fluency.

Also, we as teachers (and learners) we need to be making things a lot too. And let our students see us making things AND running into problems, researching, brainstorming, etc. So I posted this sub tweet:

What followed beyond that was a lively discussion on kits, what makes a kit, what is the difference between a “open ended kit” and a “one and done kit.”

We really got into thinking about some of the things we call kits and asked if we should consider some of these “kits” instead as “tools” or “materials.”

The conversation grew and expanded. The thoughts were getting too big for 140 characters. Then Bud Hunt, posted this:

The concepts and conversation continued to grow. In fact, Bud ended up writing a whole post about boundaries, constraints, and kits which made me (and the others) want to continue our convo and unpack these ideas in a slightly more formal setting.

We found a time when we can all chat. Thanks to Mark Schreiber of Year in the Making, you can eavesdrop while this lively klatch of educators talk about: kits, tinkering, and making.

The Full Klatch

  • Moderator: Stephanie Chang of Maker Ed
  • Host: Mark Schreiber of Year in the Making
  • Panelist: Amos Blanton of LEGO Foundation
  • Panelist: Colleen Graves -of Makey Makey/Joy Labz
  • Panelist: Katie Henry of Bird Brain Technology /Hummingbird Robotics
  • Panelist: Peter Hoh Creator of Tool Lending Library and Awesome Maker Educator
  • Panelist: Karen Wilkinson of The Tinkering Studio
  • Panelist Bud Hunt of Clearview Library District and Amazing Maker Educator

Watch the archived video here:

Can Kits be open ended_ (3)

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Makey Makey Madness

Join the (3)

Since I started at JoyLabz creating content, I’ve been super busy! I wanted to post some of the resources I’ve made.

Gigantic Makey Makey

One of my most favorite things I’ve made in the last month is this gigantic playable Makey Makey.  I can’t believe I never thought to make one before! I saw an example by Jen Gilbert at ISTE and another on the Makey Makey Educators Facebook group by Jason Quail of Amazeum. I just knew this had to be my first tutorial now that I’m part of the Joy Labz team. Find the Instructables here.

Controlling a Mouse Click in Scratch

This was a quick and short tutorial in controlling a mouse click in Scratch! The full guide is here.

Simple Circuits Challenge – Updated

I’ve learned a lot about electronics and circuits since I wrote the lessons for Makey Makey in 2015. So I’ve decided to update each lesson. It was really fun to update this simple circuit lesson and think about how I can push students and teachers to get inventive with materials.

Kid Friendly Alligator Clips

I’ve been sitting on this idea for awhile! It was fun to share this simple hack about how to make a kid-friendly alligator clip with a clothespin.

All ya need is a clothespin and some conductive tape!

Hack #1: Here is the full video of how to make one.

Hack #2: This hack uses a clothespin to make a conductivity tester. You actually wire EARTH and a key press on one clothespin for this one. The full lesson idea is in Labz and includes a Scratch game and both clothespin hacks.

Micro:bit and Makey Makey

I always think mashing up resources makes more sense than choosing one over the other. So I decided to challenge myself to use Micro:bit and Makey Makey together. Thanks to Scratch 3, I was able to control the Micro:bit with Makey Makey and bananas !

Getting started with Physical Computing

Last but most definitely not least! I was able to spend an hour with my good buddy Mark Schreiber talking about physical computing. I ended up writing one massive blog post of resources. You can find that here.

What’s next?

I’ve been working on a lot! But will always take suggestions and make your suggestions if it makes sense! What Makey Makey resources are you wishing for?