Maker education often associated with STEM learning, is an approach to problem-based and project-based learning that utilizes hands-on, collaborative, learning experiences as a method for solving authentic problems. At the Academy, we embrace the maker movement and develop cross-curricular projects in our maker space that support classes like Latin, English, Math, and more. Sometimes we spend weeks in development, prototyping and repurposing found objects in service of creating new inventions or innovations.
Maker education stresses the importance of learner-driven experience, interdisciplinary learning, peer-to-peer teaching, iteration, and the notion of "failing forward", or the idea that mistake-based learning is crucial to the learning process and eventual success of a project.
The sixth-graders photographed above, explored the weird and wonderful world of diddley bows. The diddley bow is a single-stringed instrument from the African-American communities of the Mississippi Delta. Easily made from found materials on rural farms, the diddley bow played an important role in the evolution of the Delta blues in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The sixth graders made diddley bows in maker's class, and then explored their acoustical properties and musical possibilities in music class. They also listened and watched classic performances on diddley bows and blues slide guitar, learning about the techniques and sounds at the root of American popular music.