Skip main navigation

Teaching teachers to use MakerBoxes

Alison meets with a group of teachers to discuss how they would use a makerbox in their classrooms.
So we’re here today in Rotherham. We’ve got some practitioners from early years settings, both nurseries and infant schools, and we are introducing them to the MakEY project and also particularly the MakEY box. These are boxes that they can take back to their settings with them and explore making around particular themes. So we’ve got a robotics theme, we’ve got mini beasts, we’ve got superheroes, we’ve got sound of music, those kind of things. So this links in with linking making to literacy, to numeracy, and including some maker projects in that as well. Essentially, they contain a story sack, which I’m sure you’re all familiar with, that idea.
So they’ve all got a linked story to the theme and a couple of characters that can be used alongside the story. They also contain small world play, a language, and a maths activity. So that’s probably all something that you’re very familiar with. And then in addition to all those things, they contain a couple of maker activities.
I don’t think I’ve opened a box yet without going, “Ooh, I love it!” These are really, really good as well just to give you pointers, aren’t they? Yeah. Yeah.
So what’s in this bag? This is, oh, finger puppets. So this is probably the story sack or related to the story sack. So what book have we got? We’ve got, here we go, We All Went on Safari and The Zebra Who Ran Too Fast. And we put in some cut-outs to start with, but what would be great is to get the children to start producing their own things. And again, you can go from paper to 3D. You could make them out of things that you’ve scavenged. You could do junk modelling, all sorts of things.
We had the mini beasts box and the children really enjoyed it. So we got the story sack and it works for like two year olds sometimes, pre-school, three, four year olds. I took the light and dark box. The children have been really engaged. Children that wouldn’t normally be engaged for a sustained period of time have been wanting to do these activities and really enjoying them, where we’re having to stop them from doing it.
Going into an activity blind, so you’re learning together with the children. So you make mistakes. We looked at electricity, how electricity works. Then had the activity on making the torches, then had them under the tables, where it was really dark. And we got super hero mission writing. So they had to use the torches to be able to read what the superhero missions were. So we were getting all their reading skills in there as well, which they don’t really enjoy, these children. But it really enhanced that. And how did they find actually making their own torch and doing the circuit? They found it difficult but they persevered. That’s the thing. They wanted to do it. It was good for us all.
Even our student that we had in from the university, she took a role in it. I think you’re getting a lot more, and it’s not just the critical thinking side. They’re doing more language. They’re doing more listening. They’re doing maths. And they don’t realise they’re doing it. And I think that’s the key point. They don’t realise they’re doing it.

In this video, Alison shows a group of early years pracitioners from Rotherham how they can use MakerBoxes in their teaching.

In Step 2.8, we return to MakerBoxes and demonstrate how they can impact positively on children’s learning.

How do you imagine children would respond to these boxes?
This article is from the free online

Makerspaces for Creative Learning

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education