Maker Philosophy

I have come to believe through my exposure to Agency by Design that the purpose of making in education is to provide opportunities for students to empower themselves through developing productive “thinking routines.”  As a math teacher, this is a really important evolution in my understanding because the thinking routines that making encourages are closely aligned with the common core math practice standards.  This provides the lens I needed for framing making instructional ideas as ways to develop these practices.  An example I plan to use this week with all of my math classes is a PPC: Parts, Purposes, and Complexities on a number of broken household objects from my garage.  A PPC is a perfect way to construct models, use appropriate tools strategically, and look for and make use of structure, not to mention persevere.  The students will then apply the thinking routines they develop to equations later in the week.  While specific technologies or tools like 3d printers may be the icons of the Maker movement and can certainly inspire us (and are incredibly fun and neat and provide an access point for a lot of students) it has been revelatory to discover that Maker education is already so well intertwined with the math curriculum and can be implemented essentially on no budget.