#uasrobotics Week 2: Growth Mindset

Essential question: What is the link between “tinkering”, “hard play”, and the “growth mindset”?

The connection I made this week with tinkering, hard play (hard work) and growth mindset is:

Tinkering + Hard Play (Hard Work) = Growth Mindset

In the TED video The Power of Believing That You Can Improve, Professor Carol Dweck spoke on many important aspects about growth mindset. Dweck stated (2014), We should praise the process students are engaged in and praise the hard work and persistence. As I was watching Dweck’s TED talk I was thinking: So how do you teach growth mindset? And how do you help create growth mindset students? Much of what I found about “teaching” growth mindset sounds vaguely familiar to differentiated instruction (DI). Ideas like using intentional praise, formative feedback, and self-reflection are the same ideas I read about in a prior course while learning about DI. Creating a classroom environment where students feel safe to take chances. Learning that there is more than one way to solve a problem can also encourage growth mindset. According to Martinez & Stager (2013), “When we acknowledge that there may be many right answers to a question, it gives children permission to feel safe while thinking and problem solving… When we honor different kinds of learning styles it becomes acceptable to solve problems without fear.”

As I was reading about engineering in chapter two of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Martinez & Stager 2013). I was reminded of the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) kits my school district has for teachers to check out for classroom use. EiE has some wonderful science kits that teach the engineering process:


EiE encourages students to take chances and if something fails to figure out what went wrong, fix it and make it better. EiE has a designing bridges unit. In the unit the students investigate different ways to build a bridge with columns and arches and how much weight bridges can hold. In the end the students are tasked with creating a bridge that can hold the most weight and stand up to a toy car being driven across it. The unit is started with showing students a video clip of the Seattle/Tacoma Bridge in 1940 during a 40 mile per hour windstorm. In the video the bridge sways and finally breaks, luckily no one is injured. It’s a great opening video to discuss that mistakes happen and things go wrong. However, just because engineers created a bridge that failed doesn’t mean they gave up. They figured out what was wrong, fixed it and now there is a bridge in Seattle that can withstand 40 mph wind.


Engineering is Elementary. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.eie.org/

Friedman, J. (2014, December, 6). Tacoma narrows bridge collapse. [Video]. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkXl8JJBH7E

Heggart, K. (2015, February, 3). Developing a growth mindset in teachers and staff. Retrieved May 26, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/developing-growth mindset-teachers-and-staff

Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Stuart, D. (2014, July, 24). For noncognitive skill development, start with growth mindset -Here’s how. Retrieved May 27, 2015, from http://www.teachingthecore.com/noncognitive-skill-development-growth-mindset/

TED Conferences, LLC. (2014). The power of believing that you can improve. Retrieved May 27, 2015, from http://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve?language=en


Week 1 Reflection

This week’s reading was good information to reflect on. As most of my peers blogged, constructionism is not a new idea or concept and people/students have been doing it for ages. However, it’s good to refresh our minds and think of how constructionism has been used and new ways to use it incorporating technology. My week has been spent ordering the items I will need for this course and preparing for the end of my school year. With the end of my ITT position this year I will be going back to teaching in a classroom. I have been reflecting or better yet convincing myself that it will be okay and that actually I will be better served in the classroom. The EDET courses I have taken and the last year spent as an ITT I have learned a lot that will help me be a better teacher. I am excited to implement PBL and possibly even a maker space. I am excited to try and get Sphero’s for my classroom and to teach my students to code using many different resources. After taking this Robotics course, I am hoping I will feel even more confident to add more coding activities into my classroom and possibly some 3D printing ideas.


Do you believe Constructionism brings any new ideas to the table as a theory of education? Why or Why not?


Chapter one of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Martinez & Stager 2013) raised many important concepts about technology in education. One important idea was the importance of using technology effectively in schools. All to often teachers use tech devices as student pacifiers instead of a learning tool to assist students in completing a task. According to Martinez & Stager (2013), “The maker movement represents a bright spot in a world that too often uses computers biased towards the least empowering aspects of formal education.” Research shows that students learn best by creative, collaborative, hands on learning. “Knowledge is not merely a commodity to be transmitted, encoded, retained, and re-applied, but a personal experience to be constructed. Similarly, the world is not just sitting out there waiting to be to be uncovered, but gets progressively shaped and transformed through the child’s, or the scientist’s, personal experience.” (Ackermann 2001, p.7) Students need to be actively engaged in their learning and educators need to figure out ways to help engage students in their learning.

In researching resources for my blog I came upon a lot of resources about this idea of a maker movement. In the YouTube video The Maker Movement: Jeff Sturges at TEDxMidwest, Sturges shares about a maker space he helped create in Detroit. He talks about how a maker space can help people to develop core skills: creativity, problem solving, persistence, and adaptability. His belief that if we foster these core skills we will be able to do anything is a powerful idea. It’s also a belief I agree with as an educator. The core skills Sturges shares in the video are skills that can be taught, applied and reinforced at any grade level in any subject area.


Ackermann, E. (2001). Piaget’s constructivism, Papert’s constructionism: What’s the difference. Future of learning group publication, 5(3), 438. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from http://learning.media.mit.edu/content/publications/EA.Piaget%20_%20Papert.pdf

Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

The maker movement: Jeff Sturges at TEDxMidwest. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uixjclje2y