[Activity 6] Design a Creative Learning Experience


Oh wow, I love the idea of it as an intergenerational activity! Thanks Richard!


This post (and your very creative word Placements) made me smile! Wishing you a “Perfect” meet-up day!


I too want to thank LCL participants and facilitators for another wonderful learning opportunity! :hugs:

The learning experience that I’m sharing highlights a “P” I like to emphasize for my students - one which is implicit in much of LK’s philosophy - the Prototyping Mindset.

In this learning experience, I begin with something that is so simple that we (teachers) may be inclined to assume, or take for granted, that our students fully understand it; I want to render the components of the thing in a way that makes its simplicity not so self-evident, and then give children and teachers ample time to work through complexities via hands on exploration.

Here I’ve connected a toggle switch to a PicoBoard. However, the toggle switch can be illuminated, and this requires an external power source. The wiring of the toggle switch re: power is different than the wiring of the toggle switch as a sensor providing output to the PicoBoard. The illuminated toggle can also be wired in two different ways, so that it is always illuminated, or so that it is only illuminated when it is completing a circuit.

To illumine the toggle switch, I used two AA batteries and a breadboard: wiring passes through an on/off switch, mounted on the breadboard, so that one can simply turn a light off or on. This alone is a complex system. Separately, the PicoBoard port connects to the toggle switch via alligator clips.

Back in the days when I often flailed high school science courses, I can imagine only one part of this system being presented to students, and it likely would have been drawn on a blackboard to illustrate the proper method for representing a technical system. My goal as a teacher is to provide the whole system, in all of its complexity, with its many different affordances, as something children can explore in an unhurried, hands-on manner, until the materials, concepts, and systems are fully - I want to say intuitively - understood.


I also love the intergenerational approach! My mother who is a doctor says that a lot of the healthier (mentally and physically) elderly adults she sees are engaged in activities that keep their minds/bodies active. I think that designing a space that involves elderly people with the goal of encouraging them to be “young elders” as Richard puts it could have a fantastic impact on not only the community, but health outcomes as well. I think too many of us in informal/formal learning spaces overlook this demographic!


I’ve been toying around with the idea of using a hands-on, circuit-based tool to help students investigate how neural circuits in the brain work.

Ex: I’m imagining a makey makey or something similar that has “neurons” made out of wire or some similarly conductive material connected to it. Whenever a student touches the neuron (initiates the action potential) something lights up or a noise sounds to let the student know that the signal successfully traveled through the neuron to the “brain”.

We could do some hands-on investigation of neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimer’s by coating the neuron in a non conductive substance to simulate how alzheimer’s causes plaque to be deposited on neurons and observe how that affects the conduction of electric signals.

I think bringing interaction and hands-on investigation to a subject that students usually simply read about or watch videos on because it’s not easily observed in living/preserved specimens could encourage one of those important P’s: Play!

It looks like I’m not the only one who’s been thinking along these lines. Here’s an interesting product I learned about recently that uses modular “electronic neuron simulators” to learn about the brain by building simulated synapses:


Hi all,
The topic i would gave to children is Vaccum Cleaner DIY. The children had to imagine the material and create their own ideas of how to make a working model. They will also learn the science behind it and later share the ideas with their friends and reflect on the same.


For those interested in Dance STEAM: Here is the link to the YouTube public playlist that will gather example dance videos. It only has one video so far because I want to take the time to watch them before I add them to the playlist.


This is something I’ve been thinking about too!!


Future Together

Career sustainability for youth and young adults.




All economic activity is concerned with the future, the more or less distant future. To future, or the act of futuring, is a creative process that professionals use to generate new economic value.

A Futurist is “a person who studies future technology and makes predictions about it based on current trends.” There are really three types of Futurists: (1) the disciple— who believes technology is the answer to everything, (2) the prophet of doom—who believes technology is evil, and (3)the pragmatist— who acknowledges technology for what it is and knows exactly what it can be used for. I am the third Futurist: a pragmatist.

Advances in computing bring an end to jobs requiring manual labor and wrote processes. Schools and their bookwork-based learning are being left behind in the process.

I ~~believe~~ know that everyone is creative and that creativity is a valuable work that cannot be automated. It is a “hermeneutic” process and inherently human.

Innovative ideas need translating into a tangible form or definable process. It is the translation from concept to specificity that is the particular skill and contribution of the Creative.


The future is unknowable though not unimaginable. Today’s youth are in need of 21st-century career skills. Altogether, 47% of U.S. jobs are at risk of automation today[1]. While more than 65% of us will work in future jobs that are nonexistent today[2].

[1] Frey, C. B., & Osborne, “The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerization?”, 2017; [2] World Economic Forum, “The Future of Jobs,” 2016


February - April 2018 I used design research to serve youth experiencing homelessness. Methods included: qualitative literature review, friendship interviews, brand testing, and speculative futures. The results of which inform a sustainable career readiness program.


Trauma is prevalent. Youth are heroes and in need of immediate financial benefit risk re-traumatization to work. Fighting the classist imperialism, tokenization, gentrification, and cultural appropriation of low—skill, low-wage job programs. These jobs are not careers and have no protection against automation.

  • Non -profit Partnership

    Google has emerged as a key non-profit partner to have: (1) Almost youth possess an Android phone and use it as the primary computing platform. (2) The majority of online curricula is either produced by Google themselves or uses the Android platform. (3) Google GSuite is free for non-profits. (4) Install Chrome OS on any old computer to repurpose it as a fast, auto-updating computing platform.


Hip Hop culture is the passion of many youths. We must build upon existing skills and the interests youth already hold. Using intrinsic momentum to increase adjacent career possibilities that are sustainable.


Youth need visible pathways to overcome barriers to technology, employment, education, and healthcare. Many of which partitioned across racial and class lines. Many do not recognize and value creative careers. In creative careers, one makes something out of nothing using free available digital materials.


Approaches must empower the voice and choice of youth themselves. To create cultural appropriate work themes (e.g. Hip Hop). Bringing real life relevance to the creative process and career pathways.


Develop media platforms, websites, brand identities, programs, etc… Creativity is the largest source of wealth in our generation. Youth see technological opportunity and are able to act on it as required.


Learning to apply creative skills and with a mentor community supporting in youth freelance fellowships and studio work.

  • Creative Community

    [The Community Canvas]

    [Community Tool Box]

    [How It Works | Communities That Care Plus]

  • Freelance Fellowship

    Participation in our fellowship program is a point of distinction for those registered. These fellowships come with an individualized freelancing program and a Chrome OS laptop computer.

    • Plan A Career in Tech


      • Founder
      • Chief Design Officer
      • Product Manager
      • Project Manager
      • User Experience Researcher
      • User Experience Designer
      • User Interface Designer
      • Brand/Visual Designer
      • etc,…
  • Skills Portfolio

    If you can use photoshop, you can develop a website with Webflow.

    [Creating a custom portfolio | Webflow University]

[Learn web design with free video courses and tutorials | Webflow University]

[MIT App Inventor | Explore MIT App Inventor]

[Free Technology Curriculum from Google - Applied Digital Skills]

[Computer Coding Courses for Kids - Google CS First]

[Computer Science Fundamentals Express]


Bring opportunity to our youth. Creative careers are valued now more than ever. They cannot be automated.

(complilation of principles from research notes)

Cultivate an emergent community of learners.

  • Theoretical Principles

    • Messaging Matters

    Youth are heroes and not to be tokenized by cause marketers. We have developed these guidelines to prevent gentrification or classist imperialism.

    Develop messages that are strategic, safe, and positive.

    [Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging | Action Alliance Framework for Successful Messaging]

    • Use Clean Language and Metaphors

    Clean Language is a simple set of questions used with a person’s own words to direct their attention to some aspect of their own experience. Asking these questions focus attention on the metaphors people use naturally to describe their experience. Metaphors generally operate at an unconscious level and by paying attention to them, people can gain access to a deeper and embodied level of experience: the structure of their thinking; the patterns that run their lives; their truth.

    In these questions, X and Y represent the person’s words (or non-verbals)

    Developing Questions

    “(And) what kind of X (is that X)?”

    “(And) is there anything else about X?”

    “(And) where is X? or (And) whereabouts is X?”

    “(And) that’s X like what?” (this gets you the metaphor that you can then explore)

    “(And) is there a relationship between X and Y?”

    “(And) when X, what happens to Y?”

    Sequence and Source Questions

    “(And) then what happens? or (And) what happens next?”

    " (And) what happens just before X?"

    “(And) where could X come from?”

    Intention Questions

    “(And) what would X like to have happen?”

    “(And) what needs to happen for X?”

    “(And) can X (happen)?”

    • Create A Culture of Work

    Your(youth) choices are important.

    • Choose where you want to work and what you will do
    • Choose the number of hours (part time or full time)
    • Get help for as long as you want it.

    Your experiences are important.

    • Share your hopes and dreams.
    • Tell us about what you like and don’t like to do.
    • Get answers to questions about benefits.
    • Start looking for work whenever you are ready.
    • Encourage Motivation to Change

    Ambivalence is a natural state of uncertainty that each of us experiences throughout most change processes (e.g., dieting; exercising; managing mental health symptoms; quitting alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; restructuring an organization). Ambivalence occurs because of conflicting feelings about the process and outcomes of change. Although ambivalence is natural, many of us are not aware of it. In addition, many service providers have not been trained to respond to people who are ambivalent about change, and most of our service programs are not designed to accept and work with people who are ambivalent. Yet, there is a solution.

    Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based treatment that is one of the best available to address ambivalence to change. MI is a therapeutic technique designed to help people resolve their ambivalence about making meaningful personal changes in their lives. MI also helps people identify their readiness, willingness, and ability to make the change.

    There are four core principles of MI:

    • Express empathy
    • Roll with resistance
    • Develop discrepancy
    • Support self-efficacy
    • Trauma -Informed Culture, Policy & Practice

    A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed:

    1. Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
    2. Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
    3. Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
    4. Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization."


    Trauma is pervasive.

    • Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that people experience as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening. Trauma has lasting adverse effects on an individual’s functioning and well-being.

    • Trauma impacts individuals, families, groups, organizations, neighborhoods, and communities.

    • Many people who work in organizations have also experienced trauma.

    Behaviors may be coping strategies and defense mechanisms.

    • People often develop behaviors (ways of interacting with others) to survive the effects of traumatic events.

    • Ask a different kind of question…“What happened to you/me?” instead of “What’s wrong with you/me?”

    Recovery is possible.

    • Recovery is an individual process. There are many different paths that each person might take.


    The signs of traumatic experience may be immediate or delayed. Reactions to trauma may take many forms:

    • Emotional (e.g., anger, shame, sadness, fear, numbness).

    • Physical (e.g., sleep disturbance; startle response; chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and many others).

    • Behavioral (e.g., use of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs; withdrawn; impulsive; self-injurious).

    • Social/interpersonal (e.g., difficulty trusting others; isolation; impaired relationships).

    • Cognitive (e.g., difficulty concentrating; intrusive memories; suicidal thoughts).

    • Existential (e.g., despair; questioning “why me?”).


    Apply a trauma-informed approach to all functions of the organization (e.g., policy, leadership, supervision, direct practice, training).

    • Provide an environment that is physically and psychologically safe.

    • Implement universal screening and assessment for trauma.

    • Provide access to and supervision for trauma-specific services (e.g., individual and group therapy).

    • Offer peer support.

    • Ensure continuity of care between organizations and across systems.

    • Help staff members address stress from secondary trauma.

    • Conduct organizational operations and treatment planning transparently to build and maintain trust among clients/families, direct-service staff, and leadership.

    Resist Re-Traumatizing …

    Organizations often inadvertently create stressful or toxic environments that interfere with client and staff well-being.

    • Recognize that certain practices (e.g., seclusion, restraint) may create trauma and trigger traumatic memories.

    • Understand the negative impact of power differentials (e.g., coercive decisions, activities, and treatments).

    • Support meaningful power-sharing and decision-making (e.g., client and staff voice and choice, shared decisions, shared treatment planning).

Create an environment of respect and trust.

  • 'Studio’ Principles

    ## Activity Design

    • Activities and investigations build on learners’ prior interests and knowledge
    • Materials and phenomena are evocative and invite inquiry.
    • Tools and concepts of science are a means, not an end.
    • Multiple pathways are readily available.
    • Activities and investigations encourage learners to complicate their thinking over time.

    Tinker-able construction kits

    • emphasize process over product,
    • focuses on themes, not challenges
    • highlights diverse examples
    • tinker with space
    • encourage engagement with people, not just materials
    • pose questions instead of giving answers
    • combine diving in with stepping back

    ## Environmental Design

    The setting can inspire and inform by the materials made available in the studio and by the architecture of how it was made available; by the active work of others in the space; by the archeological residue of projects left by earlier visitors; and by the modeling and participation of tinkering facilitators, as well as community makers and artists who work in residence for changing periods of time.

    • Past project examples and current activities are situated to seed ideas and inspiration.
    • Activity station design enables cross-talk and invites collaboration.
    • Studio layout supports individual initiative and autonomy.
    • Activity adjacencies encourage the cross-pollination of ideas.

    ## Facilitation

    • The facilitation is welcoming and intended to spark interest
    • Facilitators try to focus learner’s attention , based on individual paths of understanding
    • Facilitation should strengthen understanding by helping learners clarify their intentions through reflective conversation

Help members build on their own interests.

  • Learning Principles

    ## Progress

    The more frequently people experience a sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive.

    ## Projects

    People learn best when they are actively working on projects — generating new ideas, designing prototypes, making improvements and creating final products.

    ## Passion

    When people focus on things they care about, they work longer and harder, persist in the face of challenges, and learn more in the process.

    ## Peers

    Learning flourishes as a social activity, with people sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, and building on one another’s work.

    ## Play

    Learning involves playful experimentation — trying new things, tinkering with materials, testing boundaries, taking risks, iterating again and again.

    • Recognizing learning

    1. Engagement

    a. Duration of participation

    b. Frequency of participation

    c. Work inspired by prior examples

    d. Expressions of joy, wonder, frustration, curiosity

    2. Intentionality

    a. Variation of efforts

    b. Personalization of projects or products

    c. Evidence of self direction

    3. Innovation

    a. Evidence of repurposing ideas/tools

    b. Evidence of redirecting efforts

    c. Efficiencies gained through growing fluencies with concepts, tools, and phenomena

    d. Complicating of process and products

    4. Solidarity

    a. Borrowing and adapting ideas, tools, approaches

    b. Sharing tools and strategies; helping others to achieve their goals

    c. Contributing to the work of others

Support learning through design experiences.

  • Design Principles

    • Co-design

    Design is a collective activity. Everyone designs. Work to help ensure that what is designed makes sense in the future lives of people. Move from the design of things or *interactions* to systems, and from designing for people or designing with people to *by* people. Connect design research to conceptualization and development, and educating future co-designers.


    ## Low Floor & Wide Walls

    In order to encourage a varied and diverse set of interactions, we explicitly include elements and features that are easy for kids to understand (low floor), but general enough to support diverse uses (wide walls).

    ## Make it as Simple as Possible — And Maybe Even Simpler

    Despite the common drive to add more features to software products, we have found that reducing the number of features often improves the user experience. What initially seems like a constraint or limitation can foster new forms of creativity.

    ## Many Paths, Many Styles

    Many math and science activities have traditionally been biased towards specific populations. By paying special attention to creating accessible and appealing technologies, we are working to close the gap.

    ## Design for Tinkerability

    1. Immediate feedback
    2. Fluid experimentation
    3. Open exploration

    We believe that the learning process is inherently iterative. Tinkerers start by exploring and experimenting, then revising and refining their goals and creations. To support this style of interaction, we design our interfaces to encourage quick experimentation and rapid cycles of iteration. Minimizing setup processes as much as possible.


@crmoreno, this sounds like a really great activity, would love to see images if you have / will try it out! I wonder if you might find Jie Qi’s work interesting in terms of possible construction methods (combining copper tape, coin cell batteries, LEDs, and paper crafts).



I am a college student and I am really fascinated by how using understanding in Psychology and Coding, we can better understand our societies from the online information and how that can help public policy making better represent and appreciate the progress of the society.

I’d be really excited about start such an idea by looking at common examples of situations when the online data does not represent the users. For example- I may give random answers on a pop-up survey or may falsely give answers that do not represent my opinions. So, how can we better design data trackers in a clever way-so that we get unbiased information. Maybe instead of taking a long survey, we could take one question a week survey and design a system to keep track of the data. Or maybe we could add some extra questions-just to change the mood of the user. And the major part would be how the data-yes-no or one-word or one-number, values might be preferable, could mean something. How can we distinguish interesting stand-out opinions, how can we categorize the data and make sense of different parts.

Another cool idea would be how we can design clever tools to take surveys without letting the users know. Maybe we could track the time that elapses on someone’s advertisement before they skip the ad, with their internet speed and the advertisment’s identity.

Another example, I could take a survey about something in a group of writing major students. The questions can be answered with number values-like on a scale of … Or how much… Another survey with the same theme with questions that can be answered in paragraphs could be taken in a group of math major students. Two other groups could be given a survey in the opposite provision. And analysis could be drawn about the mathematical in intuition among all the students and their communication skills. The idea can be done over a larger group to analyse vaguely the interests of the people, awareness of the topic and communication skills.

I am really excited about such an opportunity!
All the best!
Excited about learning!


Wow! That is awesome! I just feel like saying something about your idea. Maybe you could make groups of two students and give them a set of circuit components. Another group of two gets a different set of components. And when the two groups separately design their ideas, make them into a group of 4 and then see if they can come up with something more interesting than their projects separate. And then maybe you could start your class as how when collaborating resources because we have more resources, we can explore flexibilities in a resource. Let me give you an example- if both the teams had wires, some wires could be saved for the connecting leads while some could be rolled around something to make electromagnets and maybe manual swtiches with them or some other awesome stuff that you can do with electromagnets. Or maybe the wire can be folded to increase the resistance and used as an input to heat sensor from the amount of current flowing in the circuit.

I think that would be a great way to give the students a sense of using simple components to design massive circuits-the Intuition to the flexibility of the sub circuits.

Thanks a lot!
Excited about learning!


Hi! Wow! Neurobytes-such a fun idea you’re excited about to get your students excited and support them in exploring the fascinating neurocircuits in the living nervous systems. Such an awesome learning experience!

Maybe you could also feed the electrical signals to a mechanical machine to give the students a sense of brain waves-frequency and how information is stored and circulated in the brain. You could also have a video session about how monks have high intensity gamma waves in their brains and how the students could increase brain activity themselves.

Then maybe you could take it to the next level, instead of wire ciicuits you could use electrolyte systems to better picture axon potential idea and while describing the different ways an electrolyte can disperse signals, but still how the nervous system manages to connect enormous amount of information in such simple phenomenon.

Thanks a lot!
Excited about learning!