Making, doing, tinkering, creating. At Acton Academy, we call this “learning to do.” It is the path to relevant learning and is the cornerstone of our curriculum creation.

One of my favorite spontaneous projects happening at school right now is the result of scraps of wood from our construction site being given to us by Tom Hatch. He just dumped a pile of wood by the yurt and left. He even parked a wheel barrow nearby. What’s more alluring than that?!

We’ve seen huts, catapults, seesaws, balance beams, secret hideouts, and forts rise up during free time at school. All without any adult instructing or directing. Today Elle and Lauren screeched joyously for me to come see their 5-in-one creation. It was worthy of a PE workout!

In the spirit of “making” I encourage you to check out the Austin Mini Maker Faire happening on May 5 from 10 am to 6 pm. This annual festival celebrates what it means to make, create, learn, invent, craft, hack, recycle, build, think, play, and be inspired by science, technology, engineering, arts, music, and crafts.

The deadline is March 15. Visit: for details.

You may also enjoy the perspective of educators on this experience:

As a final thought: “Students at a lecture have brain activity roughly equivalent to when they watch television.” (This research was shared recently by Eric Mazur, a professor of physics at Harvard in the Chronicle of Higher Education.) Hence, we do not embrace lecturing at Acton. Thanks to technology, our students can listen to the best lectures in the world on topics of their choosing, if they are so inclined. We will leave that to them as a resource they can access in their free time with their families and friends. On our watch, we plan to fire up their minds with real creating, working, making and tinkering. Join in the fun and come to campus and build a hut in your free time!