Week 3 — Celebrate the Process

Deepen your understanding of the unique practices that creative learning facilitators engage in while running workshops as they navigate being both learner and leader. Find strategies that foster curiosity in workshop participants as you create and play alongside them.

Week 3 Quick To-Do List

Nothing is mandatory, but you'll get out of the course what you put in!

Share your thinking & making—and continue to learn from your peers—on the PLIX Forum.
Join the Community Gathering, Tuesday at 12 noon ET (UTC-4).
Read the PLIX Paper Circuits activity and prompt.
Create a paper circuits project—perhaps during the Make'n'Meet on Thursday at 3pm ET (UTC-4)—and post a picture to the PLIX Forum.
Read the articles about celebrating the process, listed in Things to Think With (Reading, Listening) below.

Miss a session? No worries. You'll be able to find Zoom recordings of our Community Gatherings and Make'n'Meets on the PLIX Forum.

Featured Facilitation Techniques

PLIX has seven facilitation techniques, and this week we highlight three of them.

🎉 Celebrate the learning process, not just the finished product.

Don't forget to celebrate the messy journey of creative learning with your participants. Try check-ins and share-outs to reflect on the learning process with your patrons. When patrons are stuck, ask them clarifying questions about their ideas or process, and give suggestions instead of directions.


⚒️  Don’t touch the tools!

Avoid grabbing the tools when a patron asks for help. Instead, ask questions or suggest possible next steps for the patron to implement themselves. If you do need to hold the tools to explain something, make sure to have the patron try that step again on their own.


🤖  Avoid technical jargon.

Offer technical terms to your patrons only when it is absolutely necessary. Instead, have relevant books and other resources readily available to curious participants who want to dive deeper.


Things to Think With (Doing, Reading, Listening)

We've identified some readings that relate to the themes of the week. Read as much as you have time to read and head over to the PLIX Forum to share your thoughts.

PLIX Conversation Starters


Lydia Guterman of PLIX chats about some of the considerations seasoned facilitators put into running creative learning workshops with Tienya Smith, Community Library Manager of the Queens Public Library in New York. Listen in! (Time 20:00)

Week 3: Tienya & Lydia PLIX Conversation Starter

Recommended Core Doing / Reading


Patron Participant Persona Simulation

We developed this professional development activity so you get a chance (1) to practice facilitating an activity while not feeling like an expert and (2) to build empathy among facilitators for learners who may approach an activity differently than they would. (Read more about the original, live and in-person version here.)

Choose your own facilitation adventure using this Google form.

Facilitating Fundamentals by Ricarose Roque and Saskia Leggett / Family Creative Learning initiative (2017, 1 page)

Facilitating Fundamentals27.2KB

These were developed through reflection and discussion with facilitation teams across Ricarose Roque's Family Creative Learning workshops, page 19 of the Family Creative Learning Facilitator Guide


“Working with Kids” adapted from the original text by The Clubhouse Network pages 36–37 in the Maker Camp Affiliate Site Playbook (2015, 2 pages) The Clubhouse is a more youth-focused incubator for the MIT Media Lab's thinking about creative learning than the lab itself.


Facilitation Field Guide by The Tinkering Studio of the Exploratorium (2015, 1 page) Our guest in last week's Conversation Starter, Luigi Anzivino, was one of the researchers who contributed to this helpful guide. It gives concrete actions that any new facilitators can put into practice right away as they adopt our broader PLIX Facilitation Techniques.


“Getting Stuck”, pages 80–83 in Best of Both Worlds: Issues of Structure and Agency in Computational Creation, In and Out of School by Karen Brennan (2012, 4 pages) This includes a rarely seen passage from a letter Seymour Papert wrote plus Brennan's observations describing and illustrating hard fun.

PLIX Activity Repository Spotlight

Paper Circuits by the PLIX Team in collaboration with Jie Qi (2019, 6 pages) As you read through the activity, think about how you'd apply this week's facilitation techniques. How can you let patrons do the work and not touch the tools? How might you keep the language newbie-friendly and jargon-free? How would you navigate your patrons getting stuck, and celebrate their process, not just the finished project?

Deeper Dive Reading (Optional)

  • "Hard Fun": a section in this excerpt from Lifelong Kindergarten by Mitchel Resnick (2017, 2 pages) We recommend just the section on "hard fun" this week, but we hope you'll get a chance to read the whole book someday!
  • The Having of Wonderful Ideas” Chapter 1 in The Having of Wonderful Ideas and Other Essays on Teaching and Learning, 3rd Ed. by Eleanor Duckworth (1987/2006, 14 pages) While grounded in formal education, this classic essay on the Piaget-influenced observations of a thoughtful teacher has been very influential to generations of creative learning facilitators!
  • Ten Tips for Cultivating Creativity by Mitchel Resnick (2019, 5 pages) Some of these tips overlap with the seven facilitation techniques we've emphasized throughout this course, or with the Exploratorium’s Facilitation Field Guide linked above. What's additionally interesting here is how Resnick aligns his tips with the creative learning spiral.
  • Week 3 Community Gathering Slides For reference if you want to go back and see what we shared in the Zoom meeting.

Things to Make With (Materials)

Note: This week's activity uses uncommon materials you'll want to have ordered.





coin cell battery

Strongly recommended


copper tape If you cannot acquire copper tape in time, use aluminum foil


binder clips / metal paper clips

Note: banner photo © Maker Faire Bay Area 2015