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Project Playbook: Educator Edition

The lessons provided are a basic demonstration of how projects can be used with a particular standard(s).

Dear reader, inventor, and aspiring leader,

Whether you are a parent, a teacher, or a friend of the young makers and inventors who will work in our STEAM Labs and with our STEAM Project Book, I want to share our excitement and our cautions as we release this material to you and your contingent.

Our goal is to spark curiosity in this next generation of learners. We attempt to do this through prompts, provocations, and challenges that inspire the young individual to want to know more, to search for what’s out there, and to create new questions that will propel their interest and inventions.

We are supplying you with all the information we can in support of your effort to inspire your next generation of inventors and creators. Please, do not share the ‘how-to’ portion of this book with them! It isn’t because we are trying to be difficult or mysterious or even proprietary, it is because we firmly believe that the value comes in the struggle to understand and to find answers to their own questions.

Anyone who has been in a professional development session with me, or in an audience when I spoke, will be familiar with this idea, but I’m going to repeat it for those of you who have heard me and share it with those of you who are just being exposed to our work for the first time. If you buy a child an expensive robotics kit they will learn to build a robot by following the instructions and will build what the creator of that kit designed. That will help develop ‘follow-the-instructions’ employees for the future. There will be less need for that since the robots we are making will take on those jobs. However, if you supply random material and a few old motors and ask the child or children to build a robot, you will inspire them to become problem solvers. You will prompt critical and creative thinking. In doing this, you help build a muscle that will serve the child for the rest of their life.

Let’s nurture a generation of students who can experiment and be comfortable with the failures that will be inherent in the creative process. Let’s build a sense of ‘yes I can’ solve that problem, build that contraption, and make my world better through trial and error. We want them to know that failure is the reality for all great inventors throughout history. Thankfully, those inventors knew that success was on the other side of well-considered failures. Patents come from this process. Let’s encourage our children to see themselves as Inventors and patent holders.

Thank you for taking this journey with us. And, please do share with us pictures and stories of your experience in this adventure!

Onward,

Dr. Leah Hanes

Executive Director
Two Bit Circus Foundation

Projects