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 of that knowledge. It’s about asking students to do something with what they have learned beyond the standard paper test.
One of the many impressive examples I saw while touring schools was a psychology project (pictured left) at the Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio. A group of students used their understanding of the areas of the brain and their functions to create an interactive display where stacked laser-cut acrylic outlines of each section of the brain lit up when a button was pressed. Another color-coded button activated a microprocessor in the laser cut box to play a recorded explanation of the important features of that section of the brain. This was a culminating assessment for the unit and one that, even a year after completing it, a student could use to teach me about what he had learned.
At another school in Anna, Texas, a student in Visual Art was using 3D printed stamps to embellish her coil cup construction for her favorite holiday, Halloween. She was giddy as she talked about how much she had enjoyed learning 3D design software and how to operate a 3D printer. I could totally relate. She relayed that it had taught her so much about how to use failure to propel her forward and it gave her a keen sense of accomplishment when she succeeded in printing her stamps.
I found that many schools are engaging students as partners in these collaborative and creative environments. The Makerspace Teaching Assistants, or MTAs, at the Northern Kentucky Makerspace and the Anna ISD Makerspace in Texas are not only using the spaces to build equitable and diverse maker cultures, they are also actively coaching others through hands-on projects. At the Northern Kentucky Makerspace, part of a Career and Technical High School that is a converted former Toyota truck manufacturing plant, MTAs led students in grades 2-8 in both virtual and in-person maker-centered learning activities. These hybrid lessons included virtually assisting teachers and their classes in using science kits that the MTAs had designed and assembled for hands-on instruction. In Anna, Texas, MTAs serve as Area Representatives with full responsibility for their part of the Makerspace. They assist teachers and their classes with using the design process to tackle a project once their coordinator, Emily Burk, has helped teachers to create immersive learning experiences for their students.
The most incredible part of this journey has been the people I’ve met and the community of makers I’ve become a part of. I’m excited to return to FIS in August 2022 and to bring the wealth of knowledge that the tribe of makers has imparted to me and continues to provide. It’s
  been an incredible year and next year is going to be just as remarkable!
Nichole Foster
FIS Upper School Teacher
To learn more about Maker Education, or find some fun summer projects for your student, check out some of these resources:
Nichole Foster (center) getting a chance to meet CEO and founder of Prusa Research, Josef Prusa (left)
and Joel Telling,
also known as 3D Printing Nerd (right), during FormNext, the international meeting point for the next generation of intelligent industrial production
June 2022 FIS World 5

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