As the Maker Movement has begun to gain traction in schools, it has also commonly found itself relegated to live in quarantined spaces in the back of a library, or explored via prescriptive projects and pre-packaged kits. Crafting paper rockets and attaching bananas to Makey Makey boards are incredibly fun ways to introduce kids to science and technology – but they have a tendency to be limited in their implementation, with a heavy focus on STEM curriculum. Making, problem solving, and tinkering have the opportunity to impact learning in game-changing ways across all subject matter. Applications can be applied to English, History, Civics, Government, or Physical Education – anywhere student learning can be influenced by active engagement. But what does that kind of learning look like – and how can we adopt it into our lesson plans?

At the California Education Research Association’s (CERA) annual meeting at the Disneyland Resort – this idea of expanding tactile and exploratory learning across all curriculum came to life with the help of a little Disney Magic.

In a workshop led by One Workplace, educators and administrators from across California explored how Design Thinking and the Maker Movement can come together to create authentic learning experiences which engage us across all eight of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences.

At its heart, Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to problem solving. Students who utilize this methodology learn how to foster teamwork and collaboration, think creatively, and utilize Making to prototype solutions. In tackling the challenge of bringing tactile learning to non-traditional subject matter, workshop participants were asked to investigate three classic literary works in a new and exciting way (And by “classic literary works” we really mean three classic Disney films: Cinderella, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo!)

With the Disney spirit flowing strong among all of the attending educators, participants engaged in three distinct forms of collaboration to solve challenges derived from placing unexpected twists on those well known stories.

Three Forms of Student Collaboration:
Informative – Sharing & Informing
Evaluative – Reviewing & Discussing
Generative – Brainstorming & Making

By presenting literature as a vehicle to engage in critical thinking and problem solving we worked to create deeper understanding and more authentic learning. And as the resulting workshop proved – insert fun and creativity into student engagements.

At One Workplace we are big believers that tactile and exploratory learning are amazing ways to bring authenticity to your classroom. Regardless of the subject, all it requires is the willingness to ask– how might we bring this experience to life in a more impactful way?

Want to learn how to use Design Thinking and Making in your classroom?
Download our Lesson Plan from the Think|Make|Learn workshop and feel free to adopt it to your class!