Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create, and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. These things are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our souls.– Mark Hatch, CEO Tech Shop
Making is at the core of our everyday conversations, of our learning, of our lives. We make choices, breakfast, changes, our beds (some of us!); we even “make” time. On the first day of class, we looked at the relationship of making to composing/writing, and we talked about what we choose to make, why we make it, and how people respond to the things we make.
Making and consuming are two of our most fundamental human activities. Indeed, we engage in dozens if not hundreds of transactions as both producers and consumers every day, even as we perform tasks as simple as texting a friend and receiving a text. While many of our exchanges are intangible and we take them for granted, producing a physical object helps give form to our relationships to the physical world.
If you follow this badging pathway, you will have the opportunity both to make something and to reflect on how it is used/consumed—“little pieces of [y]ourselves”—that you will share, increasing your understanding of yourselves and of others. To have a fuller experience of making, you will do research to learn all that you can about something you would like to make, its components, history, importance, as well as how to make it. You will make a video of your process and of someone responding to the thing you make, and finally, you will have an opportunity to think about what you have learned and what you might do differently in the “manufacturing” process.
This is a research-intensive badge.
Level One Activities
- Think about a time when you made something with your hands and especially enjoyed the process of making it. A meal for family? A skateboard? A painting/sculpture in art class? A Lego city? Bigger biceps? Describe in detail the thing you made and the circumstances around the making of this thing. Answer all of the following questions (write at least 500 words):
- Where did you make it? Describe the setting, the sights, sounds, smells, physical sensations that you remember during the process.
- How did you make it? Did you use tools? Instructions? Did you get help? Did you work collaboratively? What people were there with you and what did they do?
- Why did you make it? Why was it enjoyable/satisfying/interesting to make this “product”? What did you enjoy most about it? What was challenging about making the product? Write down everything you can remember about this “making.”
- What happened to your “product”?
- Who “used/consumed” it (consuming can be viewing, reading, wearing, eating, playing with)? How?
- What meaning did the product have for the person who used it? Why? How did you feel about what happened to the “product”? Write at least 150 words.
- Brainstorm a list of things that you would like to make (if you need ideas, you might want to look at https://www.instructables.com/). The only rule is that it should be something that someone else can “consume” (use, view, wear, hear, eat, etc.). Share the list with your instructor.
- Narrow down your list to one thing. Describe the thing you will make in detail. Answer the following: considering the demographics (age, regional location, income level, etc.) and psychographics (values, interests, concerns, affiliations, etc.), carefully describe the rhetorical audience for this object. Write a statement of purpose that includes a description of the rhetorical audience (300 words).
Level Two Activities
- Find sources about the specific thing you want to make. Get as much information about it as you can. Use at least five credible sources. At least two of these sources must be academic or trade sources found via URI Library research. Include an MLA style bibliography of all your sources. Answer all of the following questions (cite your sources):
- What are the components of this thing? Where do they come from? (For example, if you’re making a cake, find out how flour is made.)
- What is the history of the thing you want to make? (When was the first cake made? Why? What were key historical moments?
- What is the social, political, environmental, and/or cultural importance of the thing (again, take the cake, so to speak: Marie Antoinette might have kept her head, if she hadn’t mentioned that cake thing!). How do people use/consume this thing?
- Find and interview someone who has made the thing you want to make.
- Part I: Discover all the reasons why this person likes to make this thing. Is it the feel of the materials? The motion (it’s good exercise, it’s meditative, and so on)? The results? The act of sharing it or giving it to someone else.
- Part II: Ask this person to explain in step-by-step fashion the process of making the thing they make. Ask for tips so that you can make it yourself.
- Take at least five (5) pages of notes, including your questions and the interviewee’s responses.. Type these up and submit them to your Google doc folder.
- Go play. That’s right. Start by remembering what it was like to be a child. When you think of “playing” as a child, what do you think of? Write down all the words you associate with “play.” Now go out start playing with the materials you are going to use and/or play with a thing like the thing you want to make. Spend at least one hour engaged in some play. Write a 250-word reflection describing your play experience (it could be like a diary entry). Consider the following: how did you feel before you started? What did it feel like to play? What were you thinking? How did you feel afterward? How does play relate to learning?
Level Three Activities
- Using everything you have learned and experienced, you will make something and then share it. Before beginning, you might want to give the thing you make a title or name, such as “Taylor’s Paper Airplane Armada,” the “Bass-o-matic,” or “Sunset in Narragansett.” Be prepared to document your process in video form.
- Create a video. Follow these steps:
- Start with an INTRODUCTION OF THE THING YOU MADE, tell us its title
- Explain why you chose to make it
- Explain what you learned from all the research (and play) you did to help you make it
- Show the actual making of the product—important: be sure to narrate what you are doing STEP BY STEP
- Conclude by answering all of the following questions:
- What did you learn about yourself from this experience, what was exciting, what was challenging?
- What you think of your final product, what you would do differently if you were to repeat the experience.
- Based on what you’ve read: do you consider yourself a maker? Why or why not? What does that mean for you?
- Export to YouTube. Either include a transcription of your video OR add closed captions for those who are hearing impaired.
- Create a quick guide like the “How to Spot Fake News” graphic pictured here (look online for other examples) on how to use the thing you have produced. Read the Wikipedia entry on quickstart guides. You can use an infographic creator like Piktochart.com.
- Bring to class your product and your quick guide. Give a group(s) of students in the class your quick guide and ask them to read it. Then ask them to try to use or consume what you made according to your quick guide. Ask them only to “use” the thing at this point, not to comment on it.
- Carefully observing what people did, answer the following in a Google doc (500 words):
- How would you describe their body language as they used/consumed your object—do they express curiosity? Do they seem amused? Moved? Confused? Hungry? Frightened? Do they touch the object? How?
- Did the people use/consume the thing you have made in the way you would like?
- State your impressions of what the “consumers” are doing and what you think it might mean, for example, about the effectiveness of the thing you have made.
- Ask for peer review on the quick guide and the thing you made from the group (group should not exceed five people). See peer review guidelines. Take notes or create a sound or video recording of the feedback conference.
- Revise and polish your quick guide, according to the feedback you received.
Required evidence for to submit in Google Folders for this pathway:
- Reflection on something you have made (GDoc)
- List of things you would like to make (GDoc)
- Description of thing that you will make, its audience and purpose (GDoc)
- Detailed results and bibliography of research (GDoc)
- Interview results (GDoc)
- Play experience reflection (GDoc)
- Video of your project making (Link)
- Commentary on how project was consumed (GDoc)
- Peer review(s) recording or report
- Draft and revised Quick Guide (GDoc)
- Student Example #1 (Doll House)
- Student Example #2 (Pumpkin Bars)
- Student Example #3 (Chocolate Chip Cookies)