Workshop A

FabLearn Writing Workshop

CERAS Room 204 (updated room number)

Facilitator: Matthew Berland (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

ABSTRACT: This workshop offers a chance for FabLearn authors and submitters to work together to learn how to turn their work into a journal article submission, FabLearn long paper, or just get some frank critique and read-throughs from other authors. We will be reading each other’s work, giving honest feedback, and connecting more deeply as a community of authors. Bring 3 printouts of a FabLearn RESEARCH paper (submitted or accepted) or equivalent in FabLearn ACM format (minimum 4 pages). We will break into rotating groups, read each other’s work, and improve our papers together. The number one goal of this workshop is to be useful for the participants. We welcome any FabLearn attendees from any background: everyone is qualified!


  • 10 min: Introduction to the workshop
  • 10 min: Form groups, drink coffee, & meet people
  • 30 min: Read & critique each others’ papers in group
  • 10 min: Form new groups, drink more coffee, & meet new people
  • 30 min: Read & critique each others’ papers in group
  • 10 min: Discuss takeaways, debrief!


Workshop B

Integrating Digital Making in Practice: A Hands-On Introduction to the ARIS Game Design Platform


Facilitators: Whitney E. Lewis, Chase K. Mortensen, Julie K. Lamarra (Utah State University) and Breanne K. Litts (Utah State University)

ABSTRACT: During this workshop, the L.E.D. Lab team will walk participants through a hands-on tutorial of a mobile game development tool called ARIS. ARIS is a free, app building platform, which makes creating an app accessible for non-programmers. Mobile games created with ARIS are location-based. Like Pokemon Go, players interact with their surroundings to play the game. This digital making tool has been used to teach learners computational thinking while they explore various disciplines including history, environmental education, citizen science, field research, or civic literacies. We will introduce participants to ARIS and guide them through brainstorming, prototyping, and development to create a mobile game in ARIS. While building the app, we will also discuss design tradeoffs for instructor- and learner-created approaches as well as outline strategies for facilitating ARIS implementations with youth. This workshop is open to participants of all levels and skills with creating digital experiences. Participants will leave with the necessary knowledge and skills to begin creating their own mobile games using ARIS or to begin implementing ARIS in their own learning settings. To learn more about ARIS and see games created using ARIS, visit the Field Day Lab website.


  • 10 min: ARIS Introduction
  • 10 min: Workshop Prompt
  • 25 min: Brainstorm and storyboard
  • 35 min: Develop in ARIS
  • 10 min: Discussion



Workshop C

MetaRubric: Assessment Design for Maker Educators

CERAS Room 302

Facilitators: YJ Kim (MIT Teaching Systems Lab), Louisa Rosenheck (MIT Education Arcade), Jessica Parker (Maker Ed) and Peter Wardrip (University of Wisconsin- Madison)

ABSTRACT: Assessing open-ended, creative work is a key way to support student-centered learning, but creating assessments that really evaluate the skills we value can be challenging. Rubrics are a common way to approach this problem, and can be very powerful when they go beyond traditional methods, but they don’t always reach their full potential. MetaRubric ( is a playful learning experience designed to show how complex, and also fun, assessment can be. It gives players an experience creating and using rubrics for open-ended work. It starts with a creative mini-project, then asks you to identify what makes that project good, ultimately coming back around to evaluating your original project. It should give you a feel for what rubrics can do well, and also what they can’t! In this workshop, we invite educators to think about assessment design in new ways by playing MetaRubric. After this shared experience, participants will design a rubric for a maker activity. They will use the rubric to evaluate their own and others’ work, and reflect on how well it captures the skills they value. We hope this hands-on session will spark playful new ideas about innovative assessment design!


  • 45 min: Play MetaRubric
  • 40 min: Construct and apply your own rubric
  • 15 min: Reflect and discuss


Workshop D

‘Making’ Science Standards Engaging and Providing Equitable Access

CERAS Room 435

Facilitators: Colby Tofel-Grehl (Utah State University) and Kristin Searle (Utah State University)

ABSTRACT: This workshop offers educators the opportunity to learn about making and programming circuits with electronic textiles materials, including LilyPad Arduino microcontrollers, conductive thread, and sewable LEDs. Such projects engage learners in craft alongside circuits and computing, opening up many avenues for interest-driven learning within classroom spaces. For instance, a light up t-shirt showcasing one’s hometown or a temperature sensing lunchbox. We will begin by making different kinds of circuits on paper using conductive tape. Then, we will jump into coding e-textiles artifacts in Arduino, learning basic concepts like loops, sequences, and conditionals. Finally, we will  present a faded scaffold for introducing circuitry concepts and programming in the classroom. Participants will discuss curricular scope and sequence for the activities. We will provide classroom learning links to the Next Generation Science Standards as well as links to the Common Core Mathematics Standards.


  • 30 min: Rapid prototype paper circuits using conductive tape and LED’s 
  • 40 min: Learn basic programming of the LilyPad Arduino microcontroller using e-textiles projects 
  • 30 min: Discuss a model for classroom implementation


Workshop E

Luminous Science: Artistic Physicalized Computational Data Visualization

LOBBY (updated room)

Facilitators: Lila Finch (University of Colorado, Boulder), Abigail Zimmermann-Niefield (University of Colorado, Boulder) and Ben Shapiro (University of Colorado, Boulder)

ABSTRACT: Representations in science are often seen as logical, concrete, and holding only one interpretation. However, art provides an avenue to create representations with multiple meanings and interpretations. Often held at odds from one another, art and science can be used together to develop metarepresentational competence through the creation of expressive representations. In this workshop, participants will construct a lantern using a Japanese-style of lantern making called nebuta using wire, paper, and paint. Individually programmable neopixel LEDs will be used to illuminate the lantern and display some set of data. The LEDs will be programmed using the micro:bit and will communicate with a set of sensors measuring data (e.g. temperature, light). Participants will explore ideas about how to bring together natural science, technology and art. We will discuss how this type of project could be implemented in the classroom. Participants will walk away with their own paper lantern, knowledge about computer programming, and hopefully some new creative ideas about how art and science might be used to support one another.


  • 10 min: Welcome and introductions 
  • 25 min: Basics of programming the micro:bit, LEDs, sensors, soldering 
  • 50 min: Building lanterns 
  • 10 min: Sharing projects 


Workshop F

Frugal Tinkering Robot Dance Party with Arduino and ScratchX


Facilitators: Ryan Jenkins (Wonderful Idea Co.) and Angela Sofia Lombardo (FabLearn Fellow 2016)

ABSTRACT: Tinkering allows learners to engage with ideas around science, art, and technology in ways that support personal expression, iteration and collaboration. And while tinkering with digital technology and coding offers new opportunities for educators and designers, it is challenging  to make these experiences with a low and affordable threshold and for participation.

In this hands-on workshop, participants will work together to build dancing robots using servo motors, LEDs, recycled materials and a special ‘low floor’ set up for Arduino microcontrollers that allows makers to experiment, discover and create without struggling with breadboards. Participants will also use a visual programming environment (ScratchX) to control the Arduino and to add some music to their creations. The bones of this workshop might inspire projects using Arduino where students can express themselves creatively while working on a literature,  history or art project.

This workshop is designed for participants with no experience with block-based programming or Arduino but will also allow those with more experience to apply their skills towards more advanced projects. We hope to work with teachers, educators, and activity developers interested in exploring the theme of computational tinkering using low-cost materials and tools.


  • 15 min: Welcome and Introduction to Computational Tinkering
  • 60 min: Tinker and create your own Dancing robot
  • 15 min: Show-up and Reflections



Workshop G

Three Ways of Making: Science

CERAS Room 218

Facilitators: Erin Riley (Greenwich Academy), Christa Flores (Asheville Museum of Science) and Patrick Benfield (Magellan International School)

ABSTRACT: Love Science and Making? Then join three maker educators on a journey to explore hands-on approaches for incorporating both into the classroom. We invite you to tinker with make-to-learn, inquiry-based activities that address integrated science learning across the curriculum. You’ll have three focus projects to choose from, each of which allows learners to practice constructionism, scientific literacy, and sustainable making: 1) a creativity focused crash course in problem-based science, 2) an introduction to app design and maker-centric project management, 3) and a session where participants make art through capturing still and film images from a digitally fabricated webcam microscope. Come explore activities that allow learners to practice constructionism and scientific literacy under one project.


  • 15 min: Introduction to Facilitators and Workshop Agenda
  • 70 min: Focus Project (Choose One)
    • Microfilms and Microstills (Riley)
    • Designing Experiences in Problem-based Science (Flores)
    • Agile App Building for Scientists (Benfield)
  • 15 min: Wrap-up and Reflection 



Workshop H

A System for Teaching High Quality Prototyping and Construction Using Simple Tools and Materials

CERAS Room 308

Facilitators: Rebecca Hare(Clayton School District) and  Kris Swanson (Pine Crest School)

ABSTRACT: Before students can design for production and fabrication tools, they must learn to make their 3D thinking visible. We teach our students to do so by training them in simple building techniques paired with an intentionally limited set of tools and recyclable materials. In this workshop, you will use these techniques to design and build along with us. Participants will learn how to get their students building, with a high level of accuracy and craftsmanship, using only low-cost recyclable materials. This method is simple enough to take minutes to learn/teach, but still highly versatile allowing students to begin building immediately with a capacity for increasing craftsmanship and fine detail work. As with our students, we will limit the variables and materials so that you can focus on making your thinking visible. We will help you use these materials and a variety of construction techniques to make high quality designs, iterate and give feedback in the design process. We have developed this process as the first step for all ages for our Maker Skills Matrix. We will share our Matrix and which age levels we have successfully introduced fabrication and construction skills into our PK-12 curriculum.


  • 80 min: Construction 
    • Introduction to basic concepts and techniques and the limited tools needed
    • Gluing and clamping
    • Mechanical connections / guided projects
    • Independant building challenge
    • Sharing
  • 10 min: Making Thinking Visible 
    • How to use this technique in your curriculum/process
    • How it is integrated in Design Challenges and Feedback loops
  • 10 min: The Maker Skills Matrix
    • How do students progress through these and other construction techniques, and how can you fit this into your program