Summer school took a new twist this year for the more than 3,000 students who had the chance to experience KID Museum’s unique brand of hands-on, maker learning from home.
Under a partnership between KID Museum and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), students participated in a 12-session program that introduces kids to engineering design, coding, and fabrication through making. KID Museum’s education team trained nearly 200 MCPS teachers to deliver the curriculum and partnered to provide live instruction across 146 third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms.
The program focused on the County’s Title I elementary schools, which serve high percentages of low-income students. Even under non-pandemic conditions, this population is at greater risk of summer learning loss — and this year it was more important than ever to re-engage students in learning and start making up for lost time.
Make it! Summer School combined on-screen instruction with off-screen making, following a formula that KID Museum has tested and refined to bring maker learning to life on virtual platforms. Through a series of project-based learning experiences, students engaged in skill-building and open-ended design challenges, creating original solutions to questions such as, “What would it take to build a community on Mars?”
Besides acquiring new skills and connecting with their peers, students came away more excited about learning, while classroom teachers picked up new tools and techniques for invigorating at-home, online instruction. Liza Manfred, KID Museum’s Director of Education Strategy and Planning, noted the resourcefulness and resilience of the kids who participated in Make it! Summer School: “It was amazing to see all the things they made and how they worked to help each other from their own living rooms.” She added, “It was also wonderful to work with such dedicated teachers who worked so hard to engage their students every day. We were partners in it together.”