How valuable are “put it together” kits to #makered?
I’ve heard tons of arguments against the use of kits in Maker classrooms, and I’m sympathetic to most of them. Kits are expensive compared to the raw materials they contain. Kits don’t scale. Kits ask students to follow instructions, not design or invent, a skill schools already do a good job of teaching. Kits create a finish line for students to rush towards and shout “I’m done!”
All of that is true. But those criticisms are each the negative extension of what could be a positive classroom trait. Kits are self-contained, and eliminate fruitless searching or scrounging for parts. Kits provide an easy way to diversify student activity. Kits’ linearity can be a welcome reprieve in a hectic Makerspace, calming and almost meditative.
This year I’m trying to strike a balance and find ways emphasize the positive qualities kits can add to our #makered classroom. With some sneaky adult planning, hopefully I can repaint the kit’s endpoint into the starting line of a much bigger race.
Here’s my first attempt at that goal-shifting in student-facing language. Lurking after building second Hovercraft craft is, of course, the Instructable. But I think I’ll have better luck keeping that in my hand for another week. First, fun with tape and DC motors!