Thinking Routines + Tools + Practices

The resources here are designed for both educator and learner use of the Agency by Design Framework for Maker-Centered Learning. In this collection you will find three sets of resources. Thinking Routines offer several mini-strategies to encourage active processing and build on learners’ background knowledge. Activities & Practices offer suggestions and guidelines for teaching a variety of maker-centered learning activities. The Documentation and Assessment Tools offer a range of techniques and activities that help learners and educators reflect on thinking and learning and be intentional in their efforts to improve the learning process. All of the tools are designed to help develop the maker capacities of Looking Closely, Exploring Complexity, and Finding Opportunity.

activities and practices

Voice and Choice: The Protocol

A protocol for looking closely at content, considering perspectives and representation, and then redesigning or reimagining that content from one's own perspective. Try out the accompanying Learner Workbook!

activities and practices

Voice and Choice: The Protocol

A protocol for looking closely at content, considering perspectives and representation, and then redesigning or reimagining that content from one's own perspective. Try out the accompanying Learner Workbook!

activities and practices

Voice and Choice: Learner Workbook

This Learn Workbook supports engagement with the Voice and Choice protocol. Created by Julie Rains.

activities and practices

Voice and Choice: Learner Workbook

This Learn Workbook supports engagement with the Voice and Choice protocol. Created by Julie Rains.

activities and practices

Materials Exploration

This practice promotes noticing, play, and exploration. When learners have time to tinker with materials they can gain an understanding of the affordances, possibilities, and constraints inherent in a variety of making materials.

activities and practices

Materials Exploration

This practice promotes noticing, play, and exploration. When learners have time to tinker with materials they can gain an understanding of the affordances, possibilities, and constraints inherent in a variety of making materials.

activities and practices

The Elaboration Game

This practice is designed to deepen learners’ sensitivity to design through drawing, observing, questioning, and collaborating. 

activities and practices

The Elaboration Game

This practice is designed to deepen learners’ sensitivity to design through drawing, observing, questioning, and collaborating. 

activities and practices

Learning Walk

This practice supports co-inspiration and the cross-pollination of ideas during maker-centered group work.

activities and practices

Learning Walk

This practice supports co-inspiration and the cross-pollination of ideas during maker-centered group work.

activities and practices

Mapping Systems

The practice of mapping allows learners to build and demonstrate their understanding of the parts, people, and interactions that comprise a given system.

activities and practices

Mapping Systems

The practice of mapping allows learners to build and demonstrate their understanding of the parts, people, and interactions that comprise a given system.

activities and practices

Memorable Making Experience

A conversation starter and reflective activity for introducing young people and adults to making.

activities and practices

Memorable Making Experience

A conversation starter and reflective activity for introducing young people and adults to making.

activities and practices

Observational Drawing

This practice allows learners to notice features of an object that they may not have the vocabulary to fully describe yet. By doing several sketches, learners have the chance to engage in perspective taking and to see details they might miss at first glance.

activities and practices

Observational Drawing

This practice allows learners to notice features of an object that they may not have the vocabulary to fully describe yet. By doing several sketches, learners have the chance to engage in perspective taking and to see details they might miss at first glance.

activities and practices

Take Apart

Mechanical dissections are a practice that allows learners to discover the often hidden design of objects.

activities and practices

Take Apart

Mechanical dissections are a practice that allows learners to discover the often hidden design of objects.

activities and practices

Design Hunt

This practice first encourages learners to observe the world around them and look for design, “in the wild,” taking a broad inventory of the designs they notice. Then it asks them to focus in on one object or system to consider the designer’s perspective or to propose redesign ideas.

activities and practices

Design Hunt

This practice first encourages learners to observe the world around them and look for design, “in the wild,” taking a broad inventory of the designs they notice. Then it asks them to focus in on one object or system to consider the designer’s perspective or to propose redesign ideas.