How I Use It
There are a host of sites out there that claim to promote student thinking and innovation. Curiosity Machine actually delivers, with fresh content, an understandable design plan and real-life experts to guide student progress. The actual design of the site itself is engaging, with inquiry-driven questions leading the way. For example, who wouldn't want to engineer an octopus suction pad?
This site would be tremendously helpful when incorporated into a Maker Space curriculum. Teachers typically face two major challenges when building a Maker Space. The first challenge is finding knowledgeable experts willing to speak to students (hopefully for free!). Curiosity Machine allows for students to connects with resident experts to provide critique and suggestions for their concepts. The second challenge is having a knowledge base expansive enough to support where students' minds take them. This site takes students past a vast Google search to an organized site of content where a logical pattern of learning helps to build the skills necessary for students to invent.
The site takes students beyond "typical" STEAM topics and introduces them to concepts such as Biomechanics and Food Science. Challenges presented on the site are easy to find, and also organized under subtopics. Each challenge is presented via a guide, a video and a project tracker so students can follow their progress. As work progresses, students have the option of adding photos, videos and anecdotal notes of their work. Toward the end of the process, students can submit work to be assessed by a real-life pro.
In addition, four types of accounts can be created upon joining the site. One of the key elements of the site is the parent access portal, where parents can become involved in the learning process with their child. Teachers can create groups within the system, and students can access with a code of their own. Mentor profiles are listed on the site, and everyone can read a brief bio of each mentor.
Overall, if you are looking for a comprehensive, engaging site to get your students thinking outside the lesson plan, you'll find it in Curiosity Machine.