Is Your Kid Engaging in a Good Maker Project for STEM Education?

Your kids need something more than just an education that focuses on rote learning facts and reproducing them through memory during an exam.

They need, what’s known as project-based learning which combines fundamental skills such as reading, writing and math with contemporary talents such as teamwork, problem-solving, researching and analysing information. Such an approach is ideal for STEM education, robotics for kids, and coding for kids.

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning is a teaching approach in which students learn by engaging in practical, significant projects. It is an inquiry-based, student-centred learning approach. In project-based learning environment, students collaborate in groups for a predetermined amount of time on a project intended to address a complex issue.

It helps kids develop critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and teamwork. You can also explore the possibility of bringing home a robotics playkit for kids. There are several of them available in the market, such as the Play Computer robotics kit, that help kids create robotics projects and develop these skills.

Some people associate tinkering with dirty tasks, making summer camp crafts, and engineering with rocket scientists. Others could argue that these subjects are not important enough to study in class. Fortunately, the idea of “project-based learning” is supported by a lot of research and valuable tools.

Project based learning goes by several names such as problem-based learning and inquiry learning etc.

All such practices produce similar mental habits for effective student learning especially in STEM fields and subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Let’s say that children with a tinkering attitude who are given a classroom full of creative chances will make things, solve issues, and develop sophisticated inquiry techniques as they tinker, manufacture, and build. It’s inessential to categorise problem-solving, investigation, and producing objects as distinct learning categories.

What makes for a good maker project?

When you see your kids doing robotics projects, make sure that the project is substantial, shareable, and personally meaningful. Good projects spark student curiosity and enable kids to embark on complex long-term learning adventures.

The word “project” is too frequently used to refer to any activity that is not worksheet-based. Too often, boring assignments become projects when students are given weeks to complete them. It becomes a project when pupils are allowed two months to concentrate on that five-paragraph essay on caribou. Procrastination inevitably results in more stress and a negligible gain in quality.

So, what constitutes a good project? It needs to have certain set of characteristics. Let’s look at them.

Elements of a Good Project

1. Purpose and Relevance

Are kids personally invested in the project? Does the project pique the learner’s interest to the point where they devote the necessary time, energy, and creativity to its creation?

2. Time

Kids must be given enough time to consider, plan, carry out, troubleshoot, change directions, expand, and edit their work. Students have equal access to knowledge and resources during class, but projects may also require enough time.

3. Complexity

The most significant projects incorporate several subjects and draw on each student’s prior knowledge and area of competence. Best of all, the biggest rewards for learners come from chance discoveries and links to essential concepts.

4. Intensity

Children have an incredible potential for intensity, which the curriculum’s sliced-and-diced approach rarely taps. Projects give that level of exertion a place to go. An excellent model for effective project-based learning can be seen in how long children can devote to mastering a video game, reading a favourite book series, understanding the characteristics of Pokemon, or building a tree house.

5. Connection

The web enables, kids to each other, industry professionals,across academic areas when they work on good projects. The lifelong lessons acquired through interpersonal connections are necessary for collaborative projects. Working with the same teammates throughout a project, observing a peer, or asking a quick question are all examples of collaboration.

6. Shareability

The central concept behind project-based learning is shareability. Kids must create something that can be distributed to others. It offers the project a lot of inspiration, and relevance, an opportunity for perspective-taking and mutual learning, and an actual audience. For students of all ages, “a project is something you want to share” serves as an adequate definition

7. Novelty

Any good project must have an aspect of novelty. It means not sticking with the same projects for a very long period of time. If a student makes a brilliant discovery while working on a project, other students can benefit from it without slavishly following their lead. In a vibrant community of practice, learning is ongoing, and information is transmitted freely without being forced to be repeated.

8. Access

Kids require constant access to a wide range of physical and digital resources. Personal student laptops make this possible, but we also need to consider the calibre and availability of the books, tools, hardware, software, craft supplies, and Internet connection that enable students to go in directions we may never have imagined.

Ensure that kids have all they need for their projects and can leave the finished items together for long enough to be used for later,

Questions Worth Asking

While you should ensure that the elements mentioned above are present in the project, you also need to ask a few questions to determine the suitablity of the project.

1. Is the problem solvable:

Problem statements are commonly used to start projects. The greatest place to begin project-based learning is with a well-designed, open-ended prompt that the learner defines. When the problem is defined concretely, kids can get a starting point and wrap their heads around it.

2. Is the project monumental or substantial?

The project should be substantial enough to inspire kids to wake up in the middle of the night and consider returning to continue working on a project. Students frequently surpass our expectations when a project is burning within them.

3. Who is the project intended to please?

Is the kid excited about the project’s outcome? Great projects are more advantageous to the student when they find it personally meaningful.

4. What can they do with that?

Any project your kid does should develop a deeper inquiry or a more comprehensive theory. If not, we should reconsider the task.

Significant projects have an automated feedback loop, just like hobbies. Kids are inspired to try something more challenging or to improve the project by incremental achievement. They rethink challenges and test new approaches due to errors or bugs. Both situations result in powerful learning.

Kids’ questions and interests serve as the foundation of the initial stages of inquiry. Allowing pupils to investigate these issues fuels their need for knowledge. When we capitalise on this phenomena through project based learning, we help kids advance their understanding without imposing an ideal solution.