In action

Adele’s after school soapmaking class

Adele is a teacher at an independent primary school. She used the FormBox to teach an after school class of year five and six students about health and beauty through making their own soaps.  We asked her how it went...

Mayku Teach: Tell us about the class you ran.

Adele: We made balls with clay for soaps that the kids would be selling. We used school produce, lavender and other organic products, to make a liquid solution that we then poured into mostly heart-shaped moulds made using clay formed on the FormBox. After demonstrating how to use the FormBox, all the kids wanted to have a go.

MT: Do you feel as though there was any difference between a normal class and this one in terms of engagement?

Adele: They were totally engaged throughout, it actually made it a lot easier to teach as they were much less distracted than normal. And then, when the parents came to collect their children, they all wanted to have a go too.

It was a real hook for engagement. It gave the lesson a sense of fun, of excitement, of actually making something that they were going to use – it made it real. And the machine was impressive, it was quick. One thing though was that all the students were really concerned about the recycling and the plastic. I think the fact that it’s made out of potato starch and is compostable should be better advertised.

MT: What do you think Learning through Making brings to the classroom?

Adele: I think it’s about involvement, ownership, independence and motivation. The funny thing is they didn’t seem to see it as learning as much. I mean, obviously it’s learning but learning anything practical is just so much more rich. Before we got the machine we were just colouring in labels, stuff like that. And it really was just kind of boring, but having the machine takes the lesson somewhere else completely.

MT: Do you feel like the class promoted communication, teamwork and creativity?

Adele: Yeah, it was definitely teamwork, definitely with the talk that was generated. And I think it’s more time efficient. I think particularly for maths and science, to work with the FormBox and promote creative learning, rather than following a textbook and doing sums.

MT: Why do you think the FormBox is especially good for teaching maths and science?

Adele: I’m constantly trying to find ways of teaching maths creatively. And to change children’s growth mindsets with maths is still an achievement. Children famously find maths difficult and having something to make, a product to learn with, yeah I think it would really enhance their learning and their confidence. It’s about making maths and science real and tangible.

MT: Is there any other reason you think for wanting to instill creativity in those subjects?

Adele: I think it helps them to see a holistic aspect in the subject, rather than it just being pen and paper. It’s definitely motivating and I think children learn in practical and real life situations far more when it’s in context. And because it’s creative, they feel like they can own it. And, finally, children learn from each other more than from the teacher telling them what to do; so working collaboratively really underpins their learning. 

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