thinkering and applying – #MakerEd #LearnAndShare

On February 26, I participated in a workshop with Lindsey OwnVinnie VrotnyJaymes Dec, and Andrew Carle on Maker Education.  It was AWESOME! (You can read a summary of the details of the workshop on Lindsey’s blog post, #MakerEd at #NAISac14!) I applaud their plan, pedagogy, and execution. It was a real workshop with learner choice and learning by doing. Here’s a glimpse of the action:

Image by Lindsey Own; used with permission.

My favorite of the experiences was the sewing station.  Using a strip of felt, snaps, an led, a battery, and some conductive thread, I created a wearable circuit. Now, I have to confess that I have, in my past, co-taught calculus-based physics to seniors.  While I was the calculus person on the team, I did quite well with circuits. I could read most problems, draw the circuit (in parallel or in series) and answer the question posed by the book.  Sewing my bracelet at NAIS was the first time I ever created, touched, designed a circuit. Amazing and sad at the same time.  How much more would I have understood about physics if I’d had the sewing experience first?

I wanted to have two leds on my bracelet.  In conversation with my 9-year old, she asked if her bracelet could have her name as well light up.  Trying to apply her ideas into my learning, here’s the next iteration in my learning:


I used 18 ct Aida cross stitch fabric and DMC thread to produce my bracelet.  I tried to capture the process in pictures.

I am grateful to  Lindsey OwnVinnie VrotnyJaymes Dec, and Andrew Carle for the experience at NAIS.

How might we connect ideas with our learners? How might we ramp up design and hands-on experiences to make additional opportunities for curiosity, creativity, critical reasoning, communication, collaboration, and control?


  1. What an absolute joy to participate in something like this! If only our children had more opportunities to do so, which leads to the impetus being placed on us to provide it for them! Your experience leads me to an observation and question, Jill. Your ending questions are exactly the ones we should be pondering, and I wonder if these experiences must first be had by our older, adult learners. In your situation, you had a fabulous experience yourself as a learner and then shared this with your daughter. She, in turn, extended your thinking and experience by suggesting something that she would like to do that was a bit more. Based on your learning and experience, you jumped right in and experimented more, which accomplished something wonderful not only for your daughter, but for you, the original learner. How might we organize ourselves in school to facilitate exchanges like this regularly?

    PS– LOVE the bracelet!!!


  2. Thank you, Angél. Annie and I are already planning our next circuit bracelets. She regrets not making one with me last weekend. Actually, she asked when I was going to make one for her knowing that would not be the case. I love how curious she continues to be about design, color, fashion, and electronics.


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