Author Archive

Maker Games

by Matt Mueller, Doctoral Student in Mechanical Engineering


Hello, my name is Matthew Mueller and I am a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering interested in simplifying interfaces for digital fabrication tools (like 3D printers and CNC machines) and developing ways for young students to engage in authentic engineering design.  As part of the 2016/2017 CEEO Innovation grant, David Alsdorf and I have created the MakerGames, a game designed to leverage the power of make believe play and to spark thoughtful conversations about engineering concepts as students engage in open ended design challenges.

Continue Reading July 17, 2017 at 10:49 am Leave a comment

The Power of Strategic Under-Instruction

By: Mike Kulbieda, Maker/Design Coordinator, International School of the Peninsula, Palo Alto, CA

blog2As the Maker/Design Coordinator at the International School of the Peninsula I have the privilege of spending my days in the “makerspace” designing and facilitating lessons to encourage tinkering, exploration, collaboration, and creativity, all in service to the act of creation and skill building. I have a passion for learning by doing and as an educator have always kept that at the forefront of my teaching. Recently I reflected on a session I had with third graders in Design class on circuitry. I had placed some materials in a few boxes including batteries, small LED lights, aluminum foil, wooden sticks, pipe cleaners, and straws, and placed them in the center of each table with the idea that I would let the kids explore the materials and hopefully come to some conclusions about their relationship to each other, and how some could conduct electricity and some couldn’t. Most groups went straight for the LED light and coin cell battery and made it light up by squeezing the positive and negative leads of the light to the positive and negative terminals of the battery. Distracted by the fact that they made something light up, the other materials were left in the box untouched and unexplored. I thought to myself, “fail.” I had hoped that at least one student would make the connection between the battery, the light, and the conductive materials int their boxes in order to segue into extending electricity through circuits. No luck.

Continue Reading June 29, 2017 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Early Childhood Makerspace

by Amanda Strawhacker, Doctoral Student in Child Study and Human Development and Miki Vizner, Master’s Student in Child Study and Human Development

Makerspaces are an exciting space to foster creative learning through building artifacts. These 21st century engineering workshops are a growing area of interest for both education researchers and school practitioners,Untitledand many resources (e.g. refer to the benefits of making for children as young as Kindergarten aged. However, most makerspaces are designed for much older age group. With support from the CEEO Innovation Fund, Ph.D. student Amanda Strawhacker and M.A. student Miki Vizner, both of Tufts’ Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, set out to research and develop a developmentally appropriate Early Childhood Makerspace, for children ages 4-8 years. This mission of this space is, 1) to serve an active making community of children and their guardians or educators, and 2) to provide a testing site for Tufts researchers to investigate making and learning in early childhood.  

Continue Reading June 1, 2017 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Becky McDowell wins Program Excellence Award at the ITEEA Conference

beckyBecky McDowell, a K-5 STEM Teacher at the Barrington 220 School in Wauconda, Illinois and TEEP Alum (2016) won the Program Excellence Award at the ITEEA Conference this year. The Program Excellence Award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession and students and is designed to recognize exceptional technology and engineering education programs in each state.

Continue Reading May 22, 2017 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment

“Making” in the White Mountains: Meet Our Partners at WMSI

by Susan Bitetti

BLOG BLOG BLOGOne of the incredible aspects about working at the CEEO is the opportunity to collaborate with some really wonderful and unique educational spaces. White Mountain Science Institute (WMSI) in Bethlehem, NewHampshire led by CEEO fellow Bill Church, is one such space. WMSI is not a typical afterschool setting; while the staff have their own space in downtown Bethlehem for developing educational technologies in-house, they visit neighboring classrooms with their “Mobile STEM Lab.”

Continue Reading May 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment


by Sam Woolf, Masters Student in Mechanical Engineering

1234LightningWith the support of a CEEO Innovation Grant, we built and tested 1234Cast, a weather forecasting portal that caters to young children. Weather is all around us, and we interact with it on a daily basis, as it affects many parts of our lives. However, teaching weather-related concepts to young children is extremely complex, as many of these ideas are abstract and require prior knowledge of numbers and scientific processes.

Continue Reading May 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm 1 comment

University Level Courses

First-Year Intro-to-Engineering Simple Robotics
IMG_0762Once again, in Fall 2016, Professor Danahy taught the Tufts School of Engineering’s introduction to engineering course Simple Robotics to first-year engineering students. Leveraging the LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics hardware and the LabVIEW Graphical Programming interface, this course has pre-major engineering students work in teams on weekly assignments to design, create, build, and demonstrate/present their robotic solutions.

Continue Reading April 25, 2017 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Novel Engineering Challenges-Update

By Elissa Milto, Director of Outreach, CEEO

elissa blogApril 1st was the launch of Novel Engineering Challenge- a series of three online Novel Engineering design challenges. The first of the three challenges is based on the book Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming. From now until May 19th, elementary-aged children will have the opportunity to submit their solutions with the help of teachers, librarians, and other educators. There will be two categories on which entries will be judged: Popular Vote and Judges’ Choice.


Continue Reading April 20, 2017 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

The Cardboard Boat Project

By Sarah Matheny, Alumni of the Teacher Engineering Education Program (TEEP)

blog blog blogSarah Matheny, Science and Design Thinking Teacher from St. George’s Independent School, Germantown, TN, shares the work done by a 4th grade class called “The Cardboard Boat Project”

Our fourth graders study explorers in the Fall and this year the teachers thought it would be fun to have ourstudents make their own boats that they could actually float in… out of cardboard! This project sounded exciting and scary at the same time.

Continue Reading March 21, 2017 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

The Development and Implementation of a Tool for Encouraging the Practice of Student-Driven Documentation in Engineering Design

By Susan Bitetti, Staff Member

blog2With the increase of engineering design activities in K-12 classrooms comes a new set of challenges to educators and policy-makers.  Previous studies have demonstrated the benefits of incorporating design tasks into formal education curriculum; however, a gap in research still remains surrounding how additional tools can best support students and teachers in these less than traditional learning environments.  For my thesis research, I designed, tested, and evaluated a tool made with the intent of specifically supporting the practice of documentation during engineering design tasks within formal education settings.

Continue Reading March 20, 2017 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

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