How Do You Teach to the Standards When Doing Project-Based Learning?

It’s easy to remember the highlight reels of the project-based approach I used when I taught eighth grade. I think about the moment we finished our second mural and my students were so excited they started spontaneously cheering or the moment students asked thoughtful questions to our guests during the immigration documentary or the way […]

What the Netherlands Taught Me About Design Thinking

Last week, I stepped off the train and walked into the bustling streets of Eindhoven. I had never been to the Netherlands, much less Europe, so I became the obnoxious American taking quick snapshots, attempting to soak up the feel of the city. My first thought was, “Man, every dude here is 6 foot 4 […]

10 Things That Happen When Students Engage in Project-Based Learning

We often hear about the need for students to learn how to program in order to be ready for STEM fields and the Information Economy. It’s what we’ve been hearing for over a decade. However, there’s a fascinating piece from the Washington Post that explores how the so-called “soft-skills” might be even more vital than […]

The Seven Biggest Lies that Keep Teachers from Implementing Project-Based Learning

We know that kids learn at a deeper level when they do meaningful projects. We’ve seen how it increases engagement and creates memorable experiences. However, let’s be real. Project-Based Learning can feel daunting at first. How do you make it fit within the standards? How do find the time for it? How do you make sure […]

How Nature Inspires Better Design (and What This Means for Students)

We want students to be makers and designers. But there’s a surprising source of inspiration for design: the natural world. This is the key idea behind biomimicry, which encourages engineers to pay close attention to nature in order to improve their designs. The following post is an exploration of what this idea means for classroom […]

The Maker Monday Challenge: Begin Each Week on a Creative Note

One of the key take-aways from Moore’s Law is that technological developments tend to double every six months. Products that sounded like science fiction a generation ago are now so commonplace we take them for granted. We are in an era of rapid changes in social, technological, and economic systems. We live in an era […]

10 Creative Risks to Take with Students This Year

My daughter looks up from her cereal and says, “You know what day I can’t wait for?” “Um, your birthday?” She shakes her head. “Next Christmas?” She shakes her head again and then says, “The first day back to school. I can’t wait to see my friends and my teacher. I don’t know what projects […]

A Different Way to Set Goals for the New Year

With the new year coming up, there’s a good chance you’re coming up with some resolutions. Personally, I like the idea of coming up with a few really easy New Year’s Resolutions just to make it easier when I bomb in another area. I think this year I might make a resolution to eat breakfast […]

Design Thinking Can Work in Any Subject

Every day, I ask my kids, “What did you make in school today?” Too often, they can’t give me an answer. But on the days that they do, their eyes light up and they passionately describe their projects. It’s in those moments that I am reminded that making is magic. I want to see schools […]

Seven Teacher-Tested Strategies for Finding Renewal on Your Winter Break

I still remember my first winter break in my first year of teaching. I scratched out Christmas Eve and Christmas as true “days off,” but then I worked the rest of the time. I read two books on teaching. I took home a giant box full of papers to grade. I planned out my first […]