How I Use It
The best way to implement this tool is to first choose a project that has a "coolness" factor that is also relevant to the area of study. Then construct a lesson plan that creates a foundation of applicable knowledge for the intended project. Once the lesson is complete set aside another class period or two to actually build one of the projects. Depending on the project either one large group effort can be achieved by dividing parts of the project and assigning students to groups, or several groups could each make their own project.
Projects can be found that focus on building circuits, basic and advanced computer programming, applied physics and aerodynamics, chemistry, earth sciences, mathematics, and much much more. If an advanced project is chosen there is even possibility for cross department collaboration.
Hands on type projects, in my opinion, are great tools to solidify concepts and demonstrate the importance of such knowledge. It also is one of the things that students tend to remember upon completing the course, not to mention the pride and confidence they take home at the end of the day.
I first learned about Make from their magazine and I am a huge fan of their collection of works. Initially I was researching arduino based projects for small scale robotics (I built a D.I.Y. camera slider to help me create automated time lapse videos) and uncovered a wealth of interesting science related subjects. They offer great tutorials on projects that excite students, parents, and faculty. I find that students will browse the site in their free time and come up with their own ideas for independent projects. Students love to be able to apply a lesson to a hands on build of something that is just plain cool.