Coaching Investigation

Coaching Investigation in the Makerspace or Studio


Something troublesome occurred as I helped teachers launch a new makerspace last week: The kids froze.

This wasn’t unexpected, but it still gave us tremendous pause. We wondered why they remained so still in their seats, so hesitant to speak, and so seemingly uninspired by the incredibly cool stuff surrounding them.

Kids who come from traditional classrooms wait for permission. They wait for direction. They wait for us to lead. They wait for our approval as they begin. They wait on our evaluation when they’ve completed their work.

Kids like these are often daunted by abundance, whether it comes in the form of resources, time, or choice. We had a feeling that this might be our reality.

So, how were we to proceed?

We could have given them prescriptive task cards and all of the materials necessary for their success. We could have modeled our own making.

We could have told them what to do, how to do it, and given them examples of quality products.

We could have sat beside them, solving their problems and rescuing them from the claws of cognitive dissonance.

It wouldn’t have been making, but it would have been easier and far more comfortable, right?

Yeah, I know.

Here’s what we did instead: We began defining and modeling the moves that successful makers use, beginning with investigation.

We asked: Given this brand new and very different space, all of these cool resources, and a bunch of interesting challenges, where and how do we begin to learn together without waiting for a teacher’s permission or direction?

The poster above captures the best of the conversation that followed. You can grab your own copy on Canva.

We modeled these moves for learners before turning them loose again.

And then, they went bananas.

It was awesome.

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About Angela

Founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, I'm a writer, a teacher, and a professional development service provider specializing in literacy.

2 responses to “Coaching Investigation”

  1. jackiejamescreedon says :

    It’s about teaching creatively like the scientific method, starting with a question,


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