Teacher Review For Instructables

Great resource for student research on project based learning

Stephan W.
Classroom teacher
Sequoia Middle School
Pleasant Hill, CA
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Science, Arts
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 4
Pedagogy 3
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
How I Use It
I teach a technology class in a middle school. The class is intended to be hands on while teaching the students about technology. I have organized twelve different modules for students to choose 4 to complete during a semester. I have several resources for students to utilize while choosing a project to support the technology they have chosen to research and construct.. A number of students had selected a module on aeronautics . Initially they had researched solid fuel engine rockets to construct in class. Due to our location in a mature, established neighborhood that idea wasn't feasible. So I suggested to the students we look at an alternative. The students used the computer library which contains many downloaded Instructable .pdf files I have created for student use and they found a couple of alternatives; a compressed air paper rocket and a 2 liter plastic bottle rocket. They also found an Instructable for a compressed air rocket launcher. They approached me and said they would use the instructables to construct both types of rockets if I would construct the launcher. I agreed and began to construct the launcher, while the students went about constructing their rockets. It was a lot of fun for me and students were impressed since they watched me build the launcher. It inspired a couple of students to approach their parents to help them construct a launcher of their own. Initially the paper rockets were a failure. Many of the rockets blew into confetti when they made their first attempt at launching. I was proud of them of them for not quitting, they went back into the shop and build a second rocket but covering it in clear packing tape (as the instructable originally recommended) and we had tremendous results. It was so successful I now have students who are not in my class asking how they can into my class next year. Very inspirational!
My Take
I use Instructables frequently for my own project ideas both in my shop in my classroom. When contributors use the intended format layout it is easy for my students to follow and use.When searching Instructables for a specific project or technology the quantity of Instructables returned can overwhelm my low literacy and ELL students . To minimize this potential problem I rely on the feature for downloading the instructable as a .pdf file.It is useful for creating a library of files for students to research and be inspired by. It is really good for brainstorming and problem solving. I don't always use the instructable verbatim but more as a reference tool.