Make This! Building, Thinking, and Tinkering Projects for the Amazing Maker in You
Ella Schwartz, photographs by Matthew Rakola
National Geographic Kids, 2019
When presented with this book, wheels start turning, ideas begin popping, and your temperature rises! This is going to be fun.
And a carefully thought-through learning experience … but who needs to know that?
By the book’s definition, “A maker is someone who tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around them.” With great emphasis, it is evident that “A maker is you!”
We are shown maker spaces and we learn that makers reuse, recycle, and create.
You know these kids. (You probably know some who grew up to be adults.) There are some kids who are makers but don’t know it yet. Give them this book if they’re old enough or sit down with them on an otherwise boring afternoon or work these projects into your classroom lessons or library programs.
Sample chapters are “Simple Machines,” “Optics,” “Acoustics,” “Forces,” and “Motion.”
The book is colorfully and thoughtfully designed, allowing the maker to fully focus on definitions, facts, step-by-step numbered instructions, warnings, and photos that are exceptionally clear in delineating the steps in case the verbal directions don’t answer all of your questions. You’ll find a difficulty meter, a box with the number of people it takes to do the project, and sometimes an admonition to “grab an adult.”
Projects include “Rolling Pin Pulley” (using a rolling pin, rope, and two friends to lift a heavy book), after which we’re challenged to keep a list of the pulleys we see throughout one day.
For “Pencil Pusher,” we’re introduced to The Mystery of Stonehenge. How did ancient makers move those huge stones 160 miles from Wales to near Salisbury, England? Working with pencils and a pile of heavy books offers one possible solution (and the current theory).
We’re asked why anyone would care about the color of a roof in “Power Colors.” This project requires two small balloons, two 2‑liter soda bottles, black paint, white paint, and a sunny day. Applied knowledge.
On “Clean & Clear,” there’s a warning about filtering water “It’s important to keep in mind that even though the water looks clean, it is not safe for you or your pets to drink. There may be other harmful things in the water, like bacteria or microorganisms, which are too small to see.” Even the warnings are instructive!
This book teaches science without making a big deal out of it.
Signing off. I need to go make a conveyor belt, a periscope, a skee-ball game, and a marble maze. Irresistible!