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News from the K-12 Maker Lab

January 2020

Maker Tips and Inspiration

How can Maker projects fit in with ELA or social studies or math? By engaging the students in expressing target concepts via a non-traditional or hands-on project. MIT K-12 Makerlab staff and collaborators have created dozens of projects ranging from starter activities that promote technical skills to projects that require students to practice 21st century skills and learn academic content as well as develop technical depth. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Visit  the Maker Projects section of our website for a gallery of project ideas that educators can adapt to fit their subject area, time, tools, and other resources. 
  • Try a simple activity - combine a silicone ice cube mold, hot glue, and LEDs to make Glowing Figurines.
  • Explore coding and use your 3D printer! Use our Instructables to get your students coding and printing customized Charm Bracelets or Wiggly Snakes.
  • See how Automata (i.e. Cam Machines) can be created to express intangible concepts as physical motions. Hear a teacher describe her custom Maker project - A Tribute to Tesla - created in our workshop. Video at
  • Make, or modify our Copper Tape Dispenser. Copper tape (with conductive adhesive) is great for Maker electronics projects, but the rolls spill out. We've designed a simple solution and are sharing it on Thingiverse and the Tinkercad gallery 
PD Opportunities

Makerspace leaders, technology integrators, and STEM coaches: Learn how to design and deliver customized Maker projects that boost students’ confidence, competence, and engagement with STEM.

Join a group of like-minded educators in a two-month training and coaching program - Master Making in the Classroom.

  • Session 1 includes 2 July training days and continues through October - Registration OPEN
  • Session 2 starts in September and continues through November – registration opens in January 2020

Click here to learn more and register for Master Making in the Classroom

Educators with Makerspaces and tools: Take a full-day hands-on workshop and learn how to design projects, set up a Makerspace, or use Maker tools in the classroom: 3-D printers, laser cutters, electronics, and coding with Arduino and Micro:bit. All materials are provided and beginners are welcome!

  • Spring workshops are scheduled between April 7 and May 8
  • Summer workshops are scheduled between June 17 and July 18

Click here for full schedule, workshop descriptions, and registration for Maker Skills Workshops

Interested in some other type of training or consulting either at MIT or at your space? Contact us at

Maker/STEM Project Plans and Tutorials

Are you new to Making? Try starting here:

  • Visit our website of free resources to get started on your Makerspace and Maker curriculum.

  • We've been publishing Instructables for  K-12 teachers during the past year. and have been featured numerous times.  Most of the 13 activities involve 3D modeling on Tinkercad or 3D coding with Codeblocks.  All involve some element of hand construction and creative design.  Our newest project is Festive Flashlights - make these popsicle-stick based flashlights with custom graphic and to light up your next occasion.

Conferences & Events

The 2020 NSTA National Conference is coming to Boston in April!

The NSTA (National Science Teachers Assoc) national conference is a humongous 4-day event (April 2-5).  We will be leading a session (!) on Sunday April 5, 8:00 - 9:00 am.  Our hands-on session is called Democratize STEM with Maker and we’ll be helping educators learn how Maker projects in upper elementary and middle school give kids the  awareness, knowledge, and inspiration they need to pursue STEM pathways in high school and beyond.

At the NSTA conference exhibit hall we’ll be showcasing our Maker ideas and projects designed to enrich academic classrooms, and can answer questions about our PD offerings.  Sharing the booth with us are our friends from MIT’s Beaver Works. They’ll be showing projects and providing information about the Beaver Works Summer Institute, a rigorous STEM program for talented students who will be entering their senior year in high school.

Diane Brancazio, K-12 MakerLab team leader, will be attending the LearnLaunch Education Innovation Conference at the Hynes Convention Center, Boston on January 30 and 31. Let me know if you’d like to connect there
The mission of the K-12 MakerLab team is to help K-12 classroom educators create and deliver fun, enriching Maker experiences to their students - no matter what subject they teach.  Building upon our experiences as K-12 teachers, we work directly with other educators to collect and co-design resources.  Our team is part of the MIT Edgerton Center, a home for experiential learning at MIT for decades, The Edgerton Center offers classes and resources in engineering and imaging, and supports student engineering clubs and teams, in addition to offering a year-round K-12 program.
We design, create, and teach at the MIT Edgerton Center Student Project Lab, a working Makerspace filled with MIT students, staff, and community as well as a wide variety of prototyping/Maker tools and materials.
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