Our first STEAM design challenge of the year was to:

“Dress” the window areas in order to make people feel curious about & welcomed in the makerspace.

It was a fun project, and the projects presented at yesterday’s show-and-tell were fantastic. You will be able to read about all projects that are publicly installed here on the STEAM blog in the coming days.

Today we took some time to reflect on these projects to consider the challenges we encountered and the lessons we learned. 


  • Time: it’s hard to have enough time to work on all the things we want to do.
  • Ambition: it’s easy to imagine projects that are bigger than we can handle.
  • Some projects had too many people, not enough work / jobs / organization to have everyone participate.
  • It was frustrating not to have the skills / knowledge we need to create the things we would like.
  • We didn’t always get enough input from other people to make our projects the best they could be.
  • Sometimes we were victims of our own tunnel vision, burrowing too narrowly into one part of our projects.

Proposed solutions

  • PLAN. Have clear goals and write them down.
    • include a schedule and milestones
    • include points for feedback and iteration
    • include opportunities for teammates to pick roles / jobs in the project
  • Intentionally schedule time to…
    • break tunnel vision and connect with other people
    • reflect on your project and see if you are meeting your goals
  • Ask questions. Everyone is a resource.
  • Don’t get married to an idea. Be ready to leave an idea behind and try something new at any time.

These problems and solutions were generated entirely by students. It’s amazing to stop and think about how much it sounds like the real world. (Many points here resonant with a conversation Buck and I had with Louis Gerbarg about software development two years ago.)

We hope that we will keep these things in mind and hold each other accountable as we grow and learn and try all of this again. On to the next challenge!

Lessons from our first design challenge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar