#Makerkitchen: A GAFE Summit Lesson

This summer, I had the good fortune to attend GAFE Summit. Two days of learning. Two days of reminding me that I can make a difference. Two days of new skills. Two days of building my PLN. Two days of encouraging me to take risks- to think differently.

One session that has been brought to mind over and over again: #makerkitchen. In the #makerkitchen lesson, Dee Lanier shared his vision for a maker experience in the classroom. #Makerkitchen is mashup of the television show Chopped and a maker event. The premise: participants are given a bag of "mystery ingredients". They must utilize each ingredient in their creation. There is a limited pantry of additional ingredients ~ 30-40 minutes to create~ then present to the group.

Of course, no workshop is complete until you've experienced it yourself. So our table dumped the ingredients and got to work. We grabbed extra ingredients from the pantry. We laughed. We problem-solved. We built. We had fun.  Over the course of 40 minutes, we figured out how to talk with one another- how to express ourselves, and how to be a team. All skills we want our students to have, right?

So, in trying to figure out how to incorporate this into my life as an elementary school media specialist, I decided to plan a big #DotDay celebration for our school. Our school just opened 3 weeks ago- so we're still building a community. Seemed perfect to unify around #DotDay and, to offer up the option of a mystery maker activity. This was it! The chance to try #makerkitchen.

Three teachers chose this activity- 1 first grade, 2 third grade. Nerves set in. What if there weren't enough materials? What if the kids fought? What did I forget to include that they would need? What if it failed?

Deep breath- and I entered the first grade classroom. What unfolded there was more amazing than I could have hoped for. Fun. Collaboration. Consideration for others. Thinking. Problem Solving. Sharing. Creating. Learning.

During the debrief, the teacher prompted one student to share about the challenge in her group. The student shared that 2 of the people in her group wanted to make people. The other 2 people wanted to make a fort. After discussion, they decided that they could make people to go in the fort. 
T: How did you feel about that decision? 
S: Our project turned out better together! Better than either of us were apart. 

Now, almost 36 hours later, I still have goosebumps. The students learned far more from their #makerkitchen experience than I could ever have hoped for. They learned they were better together- the power of collaboration. 

Thanks @deelanier for such a creative way to teach them the skill of collaboration! Thanks @edtechteam for a great workshop! 


  1. Super cool idea. Do you have a list of the ingredients you used for each bag and what were the pantry items? Would love to try this at my middle school...

    1. Because it was #Dotday, I intentionally went for "crafty" items. Each bag had a styrofoam white round "dot"(2/$1.00), about 12 pompoms, 2 popsicle sticks, 6 chenille sticks (pipe cleaners), a handful of feathers and 3 rubber bands.

      The pantry items: extras of all of the above, bendable straws, string, googly eyes, toothpicks, tape, glue, markers, white paper, scissors.

      A quick search of #makerkitchen on Twitter, and a follow of its creator @deelanier will hook you up with more information and ideas! Message me via twitter and I'll email you more details.


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