Hi Jessica! Thanks for the shout-out, too kind of you! Wanted to share my go-to hands-on staff development activity that could makje a great tinkering task, Cooper Hewitt's "Ready, Set, Design" - http://goo.gl/YYARjW. It is WONDERFUL; I've used it successfully with kids AND adults. The materials are easy to come by and the facilitation guide is complete and ready to go. It's fast, it's furious, and if the teams are balanced properly (for that, I recommend the Personality Compass [http://goo.gl/SDrnbz]), it's insightful, hands-on, fun and meaningful learning. The challenge becomes how to relate this activity to a larger initiative within the school so that it's not happening in isolation. One thing I learned long ago about staff PD is that the first thing people want to know about anything thrown at them professionally is 'how does this impact *ME* and what *I* am responsible for?' We're asking some people to take quite a leap - and transform them from the expert in the room to, at best, a co-learner. This mindshift is *CRUCIAL* for them to embrace making in the classroom. Taking an activity apart and imagining how it might work in their classroom (your last bullet) is super important; even if it's just an element of the whole, getting any piece of the activity to appear organically in a lesson or introduction would be a great first step.
A final thought ... EVERYONE needs to be considered. So, how does the School Nurse benefit from this kind of activity? Or a Health/PE teacher? Or the Music teacher? With a little attention and creative forethought regarding challenge contexts, everyone can feel included and valued, and, boost their own creative confidence in the process. :)
Love this idea - combined with some easily portable materials in pre-packaged boxes for fast deployment and cleanup, this could transform the lunchroom experience in a very positive way. Easy, inexpensive, meaningful. Involve the students as design leaders, let them guide each other. Have different challenges appealing to different skill sets (code an Arduino; make a duct-tape wallet) with all needed materials packaged up and ready to go. Designate rotating kids as "master makers" and charge them with overall coordination of the space - setup, management, cleanup, inventory. Display creations on a "wall of fame" for all to see, encourage lots of photo-taking throughout. This could be great fun!