Critical Making Camp for Educators

Design Thinking For Educators -
EXPLO Critical Making Camp

JULY 15-19 (Norwood, MA)
JULY 29-AUGUST 2 (Morristown, NJ)
AUGUST 5-9 (Santa Monica, CA)

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Practical + Relevant 

Schools are falling short in preparing students for a future of uncertainty and complexity, in the way they are currently structured. Adopting a maker mindset serves as a starting point to tackle our current-day challenges.

Read quotes from past camp participants on how our five-day immersive critical making camp helped them internalize this crucial shift to their teaching practice.



Sample Topics We Cover

Key Takeaways

Take advantage of both the scheduled and unstructured moments during the week to add to your maker toolkit. Experience our project design and critique framework, and apply it to real projects. Then, swap ideas with interested educators on how other schools are thinking through assessment and weaving in important skills such as collaboration and feedback. 


Project & Curriculum Design

Work on your own biggest curriculum challenges with other teachers in an active studio environment. You do not need to change your curriculum wholesale. By simply adding elements of maker culture to any lesson plan, you can broaden the thinking and responsiveness of your students.

Facilitate helpful Critique

Criticism is the oxygen of the maker space. Teach your students to look forward to someone telling them that they might be able to do better. Learn to give the most useful feedback by observing, empathizing, and understanding intentions.

Making on a budget

Laser cutters are fantastic, but critical making also happens with scissors and cereal boxes. We will re-source supplies you already keep in your classroom for critical making in unexpected ways. Use a paperclip to study Newton’s Laws of Motion or a rubber band to build an engine.



The “greatest hits” of the well-appointed makerspace — laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC machines — are expensive pieces of equipment. Don’t let them gather dust. Also spend time (re)acquainting yourself with saws and drills, and wrestle with the question of when to use old versus new.

Design is an iterative process, and without the critique-edit cycle, the learning is diminished. That is the ‘critical’ part – not being satisfied by just producing something, but meeting the constraints and criteria effectively.
— Deb Berlin, The Rashi School

sample workshops

Neck Up + Neck Down

Our afternoon workshops blend the broad with the specific and the hands-on with the minds-on. Introduce yourself to the laser cutter and start cutting, or circle up with some like-minded peers and debate the opportunities of portfolio-based assessment.


Using LIght as a Tool


Teaching Collaboration


PLating Perfect Prints


Building Vector Files


Facilitating Feedback


Narrative Drives Engagement


2019 Locations


The Exploration Center | Norwood, Massachusetts

July 15-19

Run out of a 12,000 foot warehouse that was home to the country’s first publisher of academic textbooks, our space offers plenty of room to make a mess, play with tools, or find a place to relax and plan with a colleague. We are located about 30 minutes from downtown Boston.


Morristown-Beard School | Morristown, New Jersey

July 29 -August 2


Located on a picturesque 22-acre campus in New Jersey an hour outside of New York City, Morristown-Beard School provides a beautiful retreat setting for rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. Having recently celebrated its 125th anniversary, the school enjoys a rich history of innovation in education.


Crossroads School | Santa Monica, CA

August 5-9

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Tucked between downtown LA and the Pacific Ocean, Crossroads delivers a transformational educational experience that helps students find their passions, broaden their horizons and develop the leadership skills. It’s the perfect home for a week of Critical Making.

We often talk about what critical thinking and the importance of play looks like. This course showed us what that feels like.
— Kathleen Malone, Derby Academy