Reflections of a Maker

In my previous post, I discussed my plans to launch a maker club at my school.  In this post, I plan to provide a bit more context.  Each club meets once a week for 45 minutes for seven (7) weeks.  Because this was my first time ever doing this, I wanted to come up with a few project ideas in advance.  Further, I wanted to select projects that would provide a low barrier to entry, as well as one that would incorporate scaffolded skills sets the students could build upon and leverage as they move towards more challenging projects.

As usual, I planned way more than I needed for the first day, as I was not yet familiar with the ability and skill level of the students.  So, I decided on two (2) mini projects, Paper Flashlights, and Artbots.  I “borrowed” the Paper Flashlights project idea from the Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF) and Instructables.  During the Maker Workshop at DHF, one thing we discussed is the simple, but all important act of sharing one’s work. Had DHF and others chose not to share their work, I, as well as my students, wouldn’t be able to benefit and grow from their wonderful resources, so I was reminded by @jonathanprozzi to “pay it forward” through sharing (hence, my post).

Within the first 10 – 15 minutes of the club, I realized we would not complete both projects. My ambition was tempered with a reminder that planning adequate time for project execution is also key.  The students set about the task of making Paper Flashlights using a template.  Here are a few pics from that experience.

During our second session, the students and I crafted Art Bots.  This was done to engage the students in the idea of using technology as a means of self-expression.  For this project, we used recycled yogurt cups, googly eyes, and markers to create the bot.  After securing the battery and wires, we then set about connecting the battery pack to the cup. Next time, I might just go with the suggestion of DHF and use electric toothbrushes from the Dollar Store.  This would have made the motor assembly much easier.  If you’re looking for additional inspiration along these lines, The Tinkering Studio has a similar project posted titled, “Scribbling Machines“.

In short, the boys seemed to enjoy the project.  I’m interested in where this will go next…

til next time,
– theberknologist

Creative Commons LicenseThe Berknologist Speaks by Dawn Berkeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at



My Maker Space Journey

Each year our school offers electives to students in Grades 4 – 8.  These electives, better known as “clubs” include activities ranging from lacrosse, handball, and photography to Zumba.  There’s even a crew of Star Wars enthusiasts.  Learning this, I thought I would jump at the chance to launch a club for makers in Grades 4 – 6.  You might recall from some of my earlier posts my previous attempts at starting a maker space.  Learning from that experience, I decided to try again.  With that said, the next few posts are a reflection of my attempts to get the ball going.  Again.  In this post, I wanted to document some of those processes.  I might add I didn’t quite have time to develop the mission statement nor a collection of materials to furnish this space, and I was comfortable with that.  I simply wanted to get started.

sgadobeTo better my own understanding during the process, I wanted to comb through some reputable resources, as well as connect with some folks who knew what they were doing (smile).  That’s where Shawn Grimes and the folks over at Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF) come in.  Consider following them on Social Media at @dhfoundation.  From their site, Digital Harbor “is dedicated to fostering learning, creativity, productivity, and community through education.”  What seems to be so cool about what they’re doing is that they seem to value the idea of reimagining and reclaiming used things.  In particular, their current home is housed in a former recreation facility in the Federal Hill area of Baltimore City.  What they’ve done is transformed this space into a vibrant community hub for kids, educators, and maker enthusiasts, both young and old.  After their first year, DHF launched the Center of Excellence to provide training and support to others, like me, on how to incorporate making into their own learning environments.  I might add that among others, they also offer a mean workshop on 3D Printing for Educators… That’s my next stop.  However, I digress.

During today’s Maker workshop, we explored the “why’s” of making and learning to see making as a means of developing productive habits of mind like adaptability, creativity and much more you’re likely aware of.  One thing that stood out to me, however, is that making also equips students with skills and understandings for jobs that do not yet exist!

Over the two days of the workshop, Jonathan Prozzi and Andy O’Neill walked us through various projects we could easily take back to our schools and replicate, one thing I liked about this workshop – definitely not a passive experience.

During the workshop, we made LED name tags, Galaxy Bots, Paper Circuits and more.  In addition to the cool projects, we talked a lot about the types of maker spaces, how to get started, how to fund your maker space, how to teach making, building maker culture, prompt development and how to deal with frustration during a project.  We even received a box of supplies valued at $300 to help us get started.

To date, I’ve been able to complete a few of the projects with my students.  My next post will cover our first day of making in the Maker Club and the projects our students tackled along the way.  Don’t forget to check out the footage from my Funky Wind Tube Challenge. The challenge required us to create an object that covers in the blue zone for at least 10 seconds and guess what?  She did that…

Til next time.


Digital harbor foundation. (2017). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from

Creative Commons License

The Berknologist Speaks by Dawn Berkeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.  Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at