[Activity 6] Design a Creative Learning Experience


This week, we invite you to put the ideas of this course into practice!

Share an idea or a plan for a project you want to work on, for your students or for yourself, building on ideas you learned or explored in this course.

  1. Share an idea for a project you want to work on to support creative learning
  2. Describe your project and how it connects to the ideas in the course
  3. Exchange feedback with other participants in the community

We look forward to see the P’s into practice!

A version of this post is also available in Italiano, Português, Español, 日本語 (Japanese), עברית (Hebrew)

listed #2


Thank you for this experience. I’ve enjoyed each week and truly appreciate the opportunity. I’m already applying many of the ideas we explored to ongoing and active projects.

One example is a course-long project for a new course (currently being developed). As I am researching and exploring learning resources for the class, I am quickly realizing that there is very little already written and published on the course topic.

Our course long project (broken down into milestones and scaffolded throughout the class) will ask students to develop their own “how to” guide (with chapters/units/modules designed to teach others the material we are learning) in whatever way they choose (written (paper/book/guide), website, game, audio, video, digital, graphic, etc.) It’s my hope that the floor will be low enough, the ceiling high enough, and the walls wide enough to excite, engage and empower all of the students.


Try Dance STEAM
All of you are invited to comment, participate, and contribute!
To do:
Dance a science, technology, engineering, math, or maker idea or project.
The dance can be solo or group, choreographed or improvised, at any stage(s) of an idea or project, by the project creator(s) and/or others.


Inspiring Illustrations:
A. First artificial intelligence prototype
It was arduous to program a computer in 1956. In inventing the artificial intelligence, Logic Theorist, scientists Allen Newell, J. Clifford Shaw and Herbert Simon first simulated the program by having family members and graduate students act as individual subroutines or memory components in an enactment of the program. A computer can be analog or digital and can work in many mediums – electronics, brain neurons, dance movements.
Daniel Crevier, AI: the tumultuous history of the search for artificial intelligence, Basic Books, 1993, p. 45, quoting Simon’s autobiography.
B. Abbott and Costello’s comedy routine, “Who’s on First”
Here’s a recent performance of this routine:
Part of the reason this is funny is that baseball players have both names and positions, similar to variables in math equations and computer programs. This skit shows how we can get confused when thinking symbolically or in abstractions.
C. Dance Your Ph.D. contest
Website has videos of winning dances for the 10th contest sponsored by Science magazine and AAAS in 2017
D. Brown University Dance of Edwin Abbott’s Flatland geometry fantasy
Dancers worked on how to physically embody movement in a two-dimensional space.
Thomas F. Banchoff, Beyond the third dimension : geometry, computer graphics, and higher dimensions, Scientific American Library, 1990.
To enact complex sequences and systems (such as, computer programs, definitions of systems concepts, math equations, environmental issues, international conflicts), making them easier to understand and modify for basic learning, prototyping, experimentation, debugging, and/or improvisation.
a. Illustrate for better understanding and to persuade others. Dance to make an analogy, story or different sensory approach can reach a wider group of people.
b. Work through issues and problems. Dance can inform science, math, and making, be a two-way interaction.
c. Generate new ideas and approaches. Dance as a relaxed, open-ended engagement with concepts and processes.
Origin of project:
This idea started with my participation in earlier iterations of Learning Creative Learning. It’s evolved a lot since then. I’ve been gathering thoughts and examples.
Invitation to contribute:
Feel free to revisit and add your comments, and examples you come across or create! I will serve as gatherer of information to provide a central resource.


“Interactive Garden: Scratch and LEGO WeDo”

I realize this is more retrospective, but I wanted to share a hands-on workshop that we did recently here at the MIT Media Lab, as part of the in-person LCL course, and hopefully get ideas for future iterations! We introduced the 4P’s of creative learning as framing for the activity, which was designing an interactive garden as a class. Participants worked in groups of three to make a component of the garden (such as a flower, animal, fountain, etc.).

We provided lots of craft materials (paper, balloons, pipe cleaners, straws, etc.), in addition to LEGO WeDo - a kit that can connect motors and sensors to Scratch - and introduced Scratch itself. We showed participants a range of examples at the start.

Our goals for this activity were:

  • Provide a hands-on introduction to the ideas of creative learning
  • Design for multiple pathways within the activity
  • Support a diversity of outcomes (i.e., many different creations)
  • Encourage making across digital and physical media

It went pretty well this time - we are going to continue experimenting with this activity! Some things I am interested in for the future:

  • How could this activity be designed to use other materials (instead of WeDo, perhaps DC motors and Arduino, or craft materials interacting with Scratch in other ways, like sensing through the webcam?)
  • How can this elements of this activity be applied to other interest areas and prompts?


Little sneak peak from the in-person LCL class at MIT!

At our last class, we applied the idea of creative learning into pastry decoration activities!! Our goal of the activity was to have everyone get ready to reflect on the course and the ideas explored in the course (about creative learning) as they engage with creative learning exploring the fifth P… Pastries!

We prepared the materials and gave them a prompt to pick one of the Ps and describe your thoughts using these materials.

The students created a huge varieties of things which we took as one success sign :smiley:

No need to say, but some students just ate their work up before sharing :wink:


Your project seems awesome! I LOVE dance your phd project! I’ve also worked on few performing arts education projects and always wonder what are the good ways to “play” in performing arts contexts (giving its time and location bounded nature). Do you have any tools or activities you have been using or thinking in mind to help students document, reflect, and iterate on their performance?


I have enjoyed the readings and tinkering with new technologies over the past 6 weeks. I am new to scratch and I plan to continue to use this in my classroom to provide new opportunities for students to communicate, using scratch to create animated stories.


Thank you for sharing Jen, I’ve really been enjoying your reflections throughout the round! :slight_smile:

I love the idea of students designing learning materials in different media! What’s the course topic?


Lily, thank you! The courses are all part of a business program. The one I am working on now is focused on starting new business ventures. (I know it might seem odd that few learning resources are readily available, but this is a result of a variety of factors including location and cost.)

Thanks to everyone’s incredible contributions, I now have dance, gardens, and pastries (what a great 5th “P”) on my mind! The shared projects are amazing and super inspiring. (For the Dance STEAM, is there a website where project ideas can be explored and contributed. going forward?)

Thanks, all!


Hi everyone!

I’m super excited to share here a creative learning experience that I’m working on this week: it’s the first in-person meet-up of LCL Italy that will take place this Sunday in Bologna!

As you can imagine, it’s a project that I’m very passionate about, and it gives me the opportunity to play with my awesome peers of LCL Italy.

In particular, I’m helping out @AngelaSofia_Lombardo and @gbonanome with the overall organization and design of the entire experience. From setting a date that worked for most of the people, to finding a good location, deciding how to spread the word, dealing with registrations… it was a lot of hard fun, and we are still tinkering with many things, including getting an internet connection and finding a way to feed 50 people, with zero budget!

Logistics aside, the most interesting part is how we are designing the whole day experience.
Participants will have different interests and backgrounds, and also different familiarity with the ideas of LCL, so we wanted to make sure to design everything with a low floor and wide walls.

We will start in the morning by making people making projects, so we asked our awesome LCL friends if they wanted to host some hands-on workshops.

We ended up with 4 parallel workshops, each for about 12 people. Here are the titles, to give you an idea…

  • Debugging with Scratch by @cyberparra
  • Makey Makey with your Hands by @La_Tata
  • Creative Robotics with mBots by Andrea and @gmenegoz from Coderdojo Padova and Bologna
  • Art and Coding unplugged by @teacherAlle

Each workshop will last 90 minutes, including time for sharing projects with each other and reflecting on the process and the design of the activity itself. At the end, we are going to experiment with prompts like: “what did I make?”, “how did I make it?”, “what would I do if I had more time?”.

In the afternoon, we wanted to have more opportunities to reflect and discuss about creative learning in our practice. We are still tinkering with the exact format and prompts, but we imagine it something like “live unhangout” sessions - with breakout rooms based on interests and some collective way to share with everyone.

We have no idea of how it will work out, but we know it’s going to be a lot of hard fun!

I hope this can inspire other people organize creative learning experiences - and maybe other LCL gatherings!

We will share pictures and updates on how it goes…
May the 4P’s be with us!

Happy Creative Learning everyone!


Hi, I feel very grateful for having had the opportunity to take part in this course. Thanks everyone for the comments and feedback.

My project is to start a weekly blog about my travels and interesting ideas and people I encounter along the way. I am setting out on an adventure and I want to take my community with me. My plan right now is to spend a couple of weeks in Saskatoon, my hometown, before I move to Toronto. I think it would be really powerful to have a place to try things out ideas and take some risks. My goal is to have something to look back on and see the process of transformation as I find out what I am passionate about.

Here is the link to my blog.


I want to introduce data visualization to young college students at my university. I haven’t fully thought out how I want to do that yet, but I have ideas revolving around collecting survey information from them (age, number of siblings, hobbies, etc.) and then showing them some ways to graph parts of that information. Then, I would turn over the data set to them and encourage them to make their own visualizations based on that data. I think that making the data personal to them would be exciting and giving them examples will set them on the right path to coming up with their own ideas.



Tengo muchas Ideas, de llevar a los niños paso a paso por la exploración de las 4PS. El proyecto que en su fase inicial es enseñar robotica educativa desde niveles de Jardín hasta Sexto grado viene acompañado muchas ideas para ir desarrollando las clases.
Ya hemos iniciado con la introducción de Scratch niveles de los mas pequeños y tambien de probar tecnologias como Makey Makey, mbot, lego ect. La idea es que ellos desarrollen su creatividad y nos exijan como profesores enseñarles.

Saludos …


Having students choose how to document the Dance STEAM performance from available resources - written description, drawing, photos, video, Scratch - is likely to involve them and bring out their reflections and maybe some ideas for iterating the project itself. I’d emphasize that reflections and iteration ideas can come at a later point and let them add ideas in the future. This reduces unnecessary pressure and lets the project, and the dance, progress naturally.

Students can make the dance documentation part of the project “portfolio.” The portfolio – which could be another “P” – is something they can also choose how to design. The portfolio can be an inspiration for future projects and dances, too.

I hope you and LCL participants will feel free to try Dance STEAM and report back here with your experiences to develop and iterate Dance STEAM as a collaborative LCL project! :smile:


Yes, Jen. You can continue to access this LCL site and comment here as well as review other’s comments about Dance STEAM! I will coordinate and summarize from time to time.


Hello, everyone. I would like to share a plan to create a maker space for our local library in Woodstock, NY. My original vision has changed thanks to the Learning Creative Learning program. Thank you, LCL team for the opportunity to learn from your experience.

This week, at a meeting of the Friends of the Woodstock Library, I described the four Ps and its implementation at Computer Clubhouses. I shared the Reggio Emilia preschool model of the Creative Society concept. I suggested we encourage children to play with ideas for a future library (multi-year project recently approved) and document their work for the community to see. The group enthusiastically supported this idea to encourage a creative society in our community.

My goals for a creative space will integrate the needs of everyone in our community from children and young adults to “young elders” -my reference for people above retirement age who are vibrant and active like much younger people. A mentor I have is the youngest, older person I know at 72. He has the youthful mindset of someone half his age. His joy for living comes from being actively creative, working on projects. I’d like to connect “young elders” like this with young people who need mentoring. In return, younger people can inspire elders with new ways of seeing and thinking.

I would like to take ideas from LCL and apply them to other social settings in need of sustainable community engagement. Senior centers and long-term care facilities could provide a better quality of life using the 4P approach. We could encourage seniors to rekindle a passion, work on projects they care about and share with peers in a playful spirit. (not easy to do with people resistant to change but worth trying) Despite a decline in their abilities, seniors still like to learn. Maybe we could create a “kinder garden” space where their minds can be engaged, like a child back in kindergarten.

As I reflect on my creative learning experience, I remember the very best moments had elements of the four Ps without knowing it at the time. Teachers who encouraged my creativity and curiosity by doing fueled my passion for learning. They form my fondest educational memories that inspire me today.


Jen and others interested in Dance STEAM -

This video of a sorting algorithm as Hungarian dance just popped into my Twitter feed from @MIT_CSAIL. There are other YouTube videos from the same and other sources with similar content. This video and your comments have given me the idea of creating a public YouTube list of these videos as a resource. I will do this when I get a chance and post back here on how you can access it.

Note the comments on this video - there are a variety of reactions which could feed iteration and discussion - e.g., the dance is very slow compared to a computer sort.

AlgoRythmics, “Quick-sort with Hungarian (Küküllőmenti legényes) folk dance,” publised May 2, 2011, Created at Sapientia University, Tirgu Mures (Marosvásárhely), Romania,


I like this interactive project. It could go in a lot of fun directions. What about employing actual plants or parts like petals and stems? Pressed flowers in place of paper models or in combination could be beautiful. Interactive gardeners could be a good theme to encourage collaboration between children and seniors. Seniors can press flowers in advance. Children could add it to a mechanical feature or use digital effects on a photograph or video of the dried flower. The result could be an interactive flower pot or digital greeting card the senior could receive.


Many thanks, Kathy! This is great!