The Making Meaning curriculum combines direct instruction in word meanings with engaging activities to improve students’ vocabulary and fluency. The program is also highly developmentally appropriate and uses age-appropriate word-learning strategies to encourage comprehension and engagement. In addition, students learn word-learning strategies that promote independence. The curriculum includes fully articulated procedures for student-led book clubs, as well as teacher-led small-group lessons for students who aren’t yet ready to become independent.
While formal K-12 education systems focus on standardized testing and knowledge of skills, maker projects are open-ended, hands-on, and playful and allow students to explore new knowledge and skills. The results can range from simple prototypes to functional inventions. The process also encourages students to ask questions, which facilitates rich learning experiences that cannot be quantified by standardized tests.