Makers are everywhere. They are children, adults, students, teachers, toddlers and teenagers – anyone who creates and makes things that interest them. Making encourages deep engagement with content, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration while sparking curiosity. Making fosters lifelong learning by encouraging learning by doing. A Maker program provides a flexible environment where differentiated learning engages young people in STEM learning. This setting helps students identify and follow their interests and provides an opportunity to develop their own ability to do things. The interdisciplinary nature of Making and the blending of low-tech and high-tech strategies lends itself well to both boys and girls across a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds. A Maker program provides an opportunity for anyone to be a Maker, not just crafty kids or ones that like to build or do science projects. This noncompetitive environment allows students to do something because it is fun, which is more likely to be meaningful than if done for credit, a reward or to learn a concept.
The STEM-Rich Making After School Activity Guide is just one of the many different ways to incorporate making at your site with your students. However, making can be implemented in many different ways with a range of everyday materials (cardboard, tape, glue, paper, etc) and simple tools (straws, plastic spoons, glue gun, hammers, etc). Below are additional resources that will help you explore making projects that suit your needs, ideas for extending these making activities and facilitation strategies to foster open ended engaging experiences for your students.