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Gaining STEAM on STEM

Gaining STEAM on STEM seeks to expand and connect STEM programming
Fab Lab

Make, Play, Connect, and Read

Posted by Kathie Brown -


Looking for hands-on classroom activities? Visit the Science Snacks page of the Exploratorium Teacher Institute. All activities are hands-on, teacher-tested, and use cheap, available materials.

Make and Learn: The Connected Learning MOOC (massively open online collaboration) has been going since 2014. It isn't currently running, but the project prompts are still posted and they are a good place for educators to start experimenting with making and thinking about incorporating those makes into their classrooms. The #clmooc twitter group is still active.

Already have fabrication equipment in your school? Check out theChampaign Urbana Community Fab Lab Greatest Hits activities and classroom resources.


Visit a makerspace in your neighborhood!

River City Labs is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit MakerSpace and welcomes anybody to stop in on Thursday nights to check out the labs. They also host public events and you can easily become a member with 24/7 access to space.

Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab is open Monday-Thursday from 1-9PM and on Friday and Sunday from 1-6PM. During their open hours staff can show you a starter project on the vinyl cutter, laser, 3D printers, or digital sewing machines or help you with a project you've already started.

Makerspace Urbana has open hours on Wednesday from 6-9PM and Saturdays from 11AM-1PM.

Plan a trip to visit a Maker Faire!

Chicago on Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23

Decatur on Saturday, April 29


Learn more about Connected Learning: Formal and informal educators recognize that the most exciting learning happens when students and teachers are pursuing learning about something they care deeply about in an environment where they are supported by friends and institutions who share & recognize their passion. In an attempt to bring more of that passion and flow to schools, educators are learning more about Connected Learning.

Grant Opportunity for Connected Learning: Are you a classroom teacher who has a project you want to pursue with your students to connect them to their interest and your community? Apply for a 2017 LRNG Innovators Challenge grant. Applications due March 16, 2017


Making in the Classroom is a Political Stance, Silvia Martinez."When I talk about the maker movement in schools I do talk about tools and spaces, but I try to make the point that it's about giving agency to kids in a system that most often considers students to be objects of change, rather than agents of change." If you like what you read, check out her bookInvent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.

Why I Make by Dorothy Jones-Davis, co-founder ofNation of Makers."We made and remade, and as I made, I learned, about the world around me. Although we didn't have much, I learned about science and engineering, circuits and electricity through the making and remaking of my little world. And I learned that I wasn't alone. At a young age, my dad imparted that this was not unique, that this is what we did. "

Not a STEM educator? ReadWhat a Makerspace Can Mean for a Writing Classroom."Another huge aha for my table was the idea that writing a reflection about the writing process is difficult. However, when students write a reflection after making, reflecting is easier because of the deep thinking that occurs during the process of making. One table member said, "Could we use this idea of reflective writing after making to help give our students the taxonomy for reflecting on their writing process? Will there be a transference of learning?" During our share out, another participant noted that "reflection is based on awareness and when students are making with their hands they are hyper aware of their actions (vs when they are writing.)"

Suzanne Linder, Champaign-Urbana Fab Lab

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