Teacher Review for Instructables

Excellent source for inspiring student innovation around project possibilities.

Jim T.
School district administrator
The Harley School
Rochester, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Small group
Student-driven work
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
How I Use It
In my classroom, I typically use Instructables to kick off one of my themed units. For instance, when we get ready to do soldering and circuitry, I have my kids search the site for LED creations. Rarely do my students want to do exactly what someone else has done. Instead, the projects that they see become adventures in the "adjacent possible". A student will see how someone created an underglow effect for their bike using LEDs and drinking straws, and they'll decide that they want to do the same thing for their skateboard or tennis racquet. They explore the fundamental nature of ideas being born from other ideas, the concept of remixing existing ideas, and citing sources. My students then document their creation process via blogs, writing reflective instructions along the way.
My Take
As a teaching tool, Instructables is a great source for helping show students how they can harness the collaborative nature of the web for learning. There are user submitted instructions on how to create just about anything you could imagine. Some of those instructions are good, and others are not so good. Having both allows students to evaluate the usefulness of different sets of instructions. Additionally, they become critical readers in terms of determining the best way to communicate this kind of information for others to understand. Students can then apply their observations to their own writing. Don't expect to go to Instructables and find lesson plans waiting for you on STEAM projects - Steampunk maybe, but not the STEAM of our educator-lingo. It's not that kind of teacher resource site. But if you run a genius hour program in your classroom, or a makered program in your school, this site will be invaluable to you since you can't possibly know how to create everything that your students will dream up. And if your students aren't sure what they want to dream up, you won't find a better site for student inspiration!