The Children’s Museum offers specialized professional development opportunities for educators, pre-service teachers and community members. Professional development sessions can be customized around your needs in any of our areas expertise.
Maker Educator Boot Camp
Maker Educator Boot Camp
Participate in hands-on experiences and discussion that will equip you with the skills and knowledge that is necessary to be a maker-educator. Through our annual Maker Educator Bootcamps, participants engage in open-ended activities that range from sewing to woodworking, electronics to digital-based making and much more. Work alongside our talented MAKESHOP Teaching Artists to learn new skills, discover ways of implementing these experiences into your practice and empower yourself to be a maker.
School Programs & Partnerships
MAKESHOP and Children’s Museum Pittsburgh offer unique experiences for your Museum visit or your classroom, afterschool program or camp group, designed to complement your educational objectives. Our programs are flexible and individually adapted to the learning goals of your classroom or community, and all programs support PA and Common Core Standards. For more information, please check out the museum Outreach and Field Trip pages.
MAKESHOP can work with your institution to provide ongoing customized learning opportunities for your students. We will work with you to tailor our programs to your needs and curriculum, allowing you to use the Museum as an extension of your classroom. Whether you want to visit the Museum throughout the year or have a Teaching Artist co-teach in your classroom we can create a partnership to fit your unique needs.
Please refer to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh Education Outreach page for more information.
MAKESHOP Classroom Kits
Build-it is a custom made building and construction set developed by the MAKESHOP® at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Build-it was developed to enable learners to gain a variety of skills through an open-ended experience. Each set contains different materials (wood, plastic, metal) in various shapes and sizes. The materials can be connected together in a variety of ways using nuts, bolts, hinges and brackets. Using Build-it, learners can gain a better understanding about materials and attachment while gaining new vocabulary and developing social skills. In addition to the listed areas of exploration, Build It can be used in a multitude of meaningful ways and connect to many different curricular areas as it allows leaners to approach the classroom curriculum through multiple entry points.
Possibility Pieces is a custom made building and construction set developed by MAKESHOP® at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Possibility Pieces was created with the intention to grant early learners experience with making, to enhance the development of fine motor skills through an exploration of fit and attachment, and to develop fluency with materials and their properties. Each set contains three base materials: blocks, wheels, and sheets; as well as two fastener materials: pegs and cord. Each material can be explored independently or in combination with other materials. By providing a consistent set of materials that may be introduced alone or in various combinations, learners gain comfort and fluency with each material as they innovate with various combinations. The use of the selected materials helps support critical thinking skills, creativity, spatial reasoning and early math skills.
Both Build –it and Possibility Pieces can be borrowed for use in your classroom. In addition to the kits, Museum staff will provide teacher professional development to support deep and meaningful experiences around the kits.
MAKESHOP and the Children’s Museum are currently involved in these nationally funded initiatives to study making as a learning process:
- Supporting Making in Museums and Libraries – National Leadership Grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have launched a field-wide initiative to understand, advance, support and connect makerspaces in museums and libraries. Partners include the North Carolina State University Library, Exploratorium, Chicago Public Library and the Maker Education Initiative. Join the conversation, share your work and be part of the movement at makingandlearning.org
- Family Learning in Museum – Base Makerspaces: National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, in partnership with New York Hall of Science, is conducting a three-year design-based study of family participation in museum-based makerspaces. Our goal is to reliably design physical, social and spatial tools to support meaningful family participation in museum-based makerspaces that employ a deep understanding of productive patterns of family participation and their associated learning outcomes in these spaces based on empirical research, learning literature and practitioner experience.
>> Final Learning Practices Report, Feb 2015 – PDF format
- Learning in Making: Studying and Designing Makerspaces Cyberlearning Grant from the National Science Foundation As partner to learning scientists Erica Halverson from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Kimberly Sheridan from George Mason University, the Museum is helping to investigate what and how participants learn in makerspaces in order to then create designed experiences for families and young people who are not otherwise engaged in technologically-mediated arts and science activities.
Check back for reports of our findings, related research articles and ways you can get involved
MAKESHOP is often asked to guide educators and organizations in the design of new maker spaces and programs. In particular, educators often want to know how to approach the task of designing for particular audiences, and what tools and materials emerging makerspaces should invest in.
Find tips, resources and information on our new Making a Makerspace page!