The Maker Mindset

From the Story - Part 2

Image by Mark Frost from Pixabay

One by one, in single file, the six adventurers traversed the rock down into the unknown. With a pack barely equipped with enough supplies for a few days, the members of the group went down into the dark. Not truly knowing the danger, the adventurers carried only a short sword by their side, and a bow hung over their pack. Feeling their way forward, and many feet downward, they climbed carefully. With a torch in one hand, and a glimpse of hope, or luck as some would say, they ventured on. Eventually, they took foothold on level ground. Looking up, Smith’s Crack was barely a sliver of open space above. In the darkness, they could not measure how deep into the ground they were. Their only thought was to find their friend and get out alive. There was no map of this place – only legends. And the legends were spoken only in whispers by travelers in taverns in faraway places.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)

” Full immersion experience within a special world.”

The darkness, and the silence, pierced them like swords, cutting deep into their flesh. Each felt the sting of emptiness, and the cold frost of a place untouched by the sun. What would possess anyone to travel down here? No treasure could be worth the risk. That is – if there was treasure down here. No matter, the six comrades held their torches high, and spaced themselves out as they slowly marched forward. Despite all attempts to remain quiet, each footstep echoed into the deep cavern beyond. If they were not alone, then whoever, or whatever was down there knew of their presence.

Hours passed as they slowly made their way deeper into the Abyss. The walking was unsteady, and wearisome. In addition to the darkness, the floor beneath them was paved with small rocks. At times, they could feel a soft breeze coming from an opening on the left, or the right, that led down new, strange paths. But until they knew otherwise, or until their current path abruptly ended, they stayed straight. Each knew, the straight path forward would mean a straight path back. Every once in a while, they tried to mark the walls, hoping to leave clues back to which they came. But despite their efforts, the dark surroundings offered no help in finding any mark they made. They would have to trust their memories, and hope, to make it home again.

Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay

After a series of turns in the tunnel, leading to the left and right, they finally came upon a sight that – at first brought them hope – but soon filled them each with dread. Following the path, and turning to the left once more, they came to a wider space in the underground labyrinth. This time, torches were spaced some ten feet apart hanging on the walls. The line of torches led further down into the dark. The torches were lit.

Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay

The Story Template

“Pulls each of us into the plot”

Their initial hope was that their lost friend had left them a message, something to lead them to his location. But since no other clues could be found . . . no clothing, gear, or any sign of someone leaving a trail to follow, the six friends non verbally agreed that someone else was down here with them. The foreboding sense that someone might be watching their every move heightened their awareness and increased the urgency of their mission. Pushing forward, the tunnel opened into a cross, with paths leading ahead, and to either side. All paths were lit.

Looking deep into the unknown, and not knowing what to do, they took a knee. They could not continue forward until they all agreed how to proceed.

STEM Education

” Let’s take the journey together!”

So, what does this all have to do with #stemeducation? As a #stem educator, I am often asked: What inspired you to chase the idea of starting a #stem project with a story? For me the answer is simple. In response, I say: What thoughts are running through your head right now? What are you thinking about?

  1. The six adventurers?
  2. Their lost friend?
  3. The dark, scary cavern?
  4. The lit torches along the path?
  5. What they should do now?


Truthfully, regardless of how you answered the question, given the five above-stated answers, I know you are involved in the story. And that is the important part. The fact that you are now engaged in the story – even though the story has so much more to unfold – you want to know more! And that is where the project comes in. What do you, as the listener, want to see happen? Do you want to know what happens next – do you want someone to tell you the next part of the adventure? Or do you want to create that next part? Are you ready to envision the next step in the adventure? Let us envision it together. Let’s take the journey together!

Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay

STEM Educator

“Conversation about starting the project”

As the #stem educator, I can now begin the conversation of how to start the project. This conversation leads me to talk about the engineering process. The engineering process has seven important steps, or phases. These are: Ask, Research, Imaging, Plan, Create, Test, and Improve. The engineering process is going to allow us to think about the story from a structural perspective. It will allow us to build one of the scenes in the story, and then, give us the power and processes to make that scene come alive!

For now, let’s put the mechanics in the back of our minds. The six adventurers need to think. They need to decide what to do next. Should they continue the path straight ahead? Should they go left? Right? Or should they give up and go back home?

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