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How to add Learning by Making to STEAM Lessons

By Andrea Buforn on May 8, 2018 11:49:01 AM

Topics: STEAM resources For educators how to

Are you looking for ways to engage your students more deeply in STEAM? Learning by making is a fantastic way to facilitate hands-on learning where students make, do or build something that’s meaningful to them.

Learning by making builds students’ collaborative problem-solving skills, challenges them to think critically, and provides both a sense of achievement and ownership in their learning. Crucially, it also helps them retain knowledge.

If all of this sounds great, how do you get started? There are a lot of edtech products out there, so how do you know which one will suit you best? Our recommendation is to put together a list of characteristics you want your learners to possess — the identity you wish for them — and the skills and abilities you want them to demonstrate when they leave your school.


The Learning by Making Wish List for STEAM Lessons


To help you get started, we’ve put together a handy list of things you may want to consider when you’re looking for products to bring learning by making into your STEAM lessons.

  • Training – do you get training on how to use the resources? Does the product include a guide, tips and tricks, a community or a forum to ask questions?
  • Curriculum relevance – is the product linked to national standards? Are lesson plans or student learning briefs provided which will tick your curriculum boxes?
  • Ease of set-up – how long will it take to get started in the classroom? Is it a simple process? What support is there for this?
  • Technical support – you want to know that if anything does go wrong, there’s someone who can answer your questions and help you fix it, so you don’t lose time in lessons.
  • How many students can use the product – are you looking for enough products that your entire class can be using them at the same time, or do you want them to work individually or in small groups? Do you want to cover all of these options?
  • Extension opportunities – what are the opportunities to take the learning further? Will there be new content, lesson plans or learning briefs in the future?

Once you’ve identified a product you think is right for you, you may also want to speak to educators who are already using it, perhaps by asking questions on forums or via social media. This is a great way to get an understanding of the reality of using the product in a classroom.

Is there anything you’d add to this list? We’d be interested to hear what that might be in the comments below.

The pi-top Learning System for STEAM Lessons


Here at pi-top, we’re building a project-based learning system because learning by making is the best way to learn STEAM skills. (Don’t just take our word for it though – you can read about how teachers across the world are using it in their classrooms with great success.)

pi-top Learning System includes the products, a revolutionary curriculum, and the training and support to facilitate engaging STEAM learning that will develop computational thinking, build collaborative problem-solving and critical thinking skills, develop creativity, and bring science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to life.

Plus, it’s just cool to do all of that on a laptop computer you built and configured yourself.

Why pi-top?

There is a real, tangible value in blending project-based learning by making with STEAM education. Both kids and teachers love building things together. That’s why we’ve created a classroom learning solution called pi-top Learning System, which includes:

  • Interactive hardware for students – truly understand the relationship between computers, code and the real world, powered by a suite of 30 pi-top laptops and peripherals.
  • Teaching & learning platform – personalized lessons with optimized student-teacher interaction, progress monitoring and community interaction.
  • Curriculum– meet your objectives with award-winning, tried-and-tested lesson plans created by educators for educators.
  • Teacher training – we’ll connect you with resources and colleagues who will help you move from novice to expert.
  • The pi-top Innovation Challenge: an exciting way for learners to make real changes in their schools and communities — and engage in rich, project-based learning while they do.
  • Limited lifetime warranty – no missing out on learning time – if you have any issues with your product, we’ll fix or replace it. Right away. No extra costs. No hassle.
  • Unlimited technical support – minimize downtime and maintain quality classroom time with our 24/7 support team.

Buying the pi-top Learning System also means you’ll be part of a community of schools who share ideas, knowledge and discoveries. It’s a supportive (and fun!) environment that provides real value to everyone involved.

If you’d like to find out more about how 'learning by making’ with pi-top can help you, your students and your school, get in touch here.

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