Scrabble Tile Nametags - SCOPES Digital Fabrication

Lesson Details

Age Ranges

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Danielle Martin
K-12 teacher
As co-author of the book Start Making! A Guide to Engaging Young People in Maker Activities, I have over 20 years of experience in instructional design, youth & workforce development, tech & media education, and community organizing. In fall 2018,… Read More


Learners will further develop their self portrait by identifying skills they have or want to gain, especially those that will make them leaders or useful to their teammates on group projects, by creating a name tag. Learners will also further explore the tools and materials created using Makerspace tools, and start safely using basic arts and crafts hand tools for measuring and glueing.

What You'll Need


  • About Me profile drawing / worksheet
  • Maker Journal


  • iPads/Chromebooks (or just worksheets on paper)

Fabrication Tools:

  • Arts & Crafts: Scissors, Sharpee markers, regular glue sticks / white glue, hot glue gun & sticks
  • Laser cutter
  • Vinyl Cutter
  • (optional) CNC cutter/milling, 3D printer

Name tag ingredients:

  • pre-cut Scrabble tiles on acrylic, cardboard, cardstock, vinyl sticker (if time, felt, CNC milled wood, 3D printed)
  • pre-cut name tag baseplates in various widths
  • pre-cut symbols or shapes or icons for key leadership skills, cut in vinyl stickers or laser cut cardboard badges
  • adhesive pin backs or safety pins
  • (optional) more uncut materials appropriate for cutting more Scrabble tiles

Extension – Paper circuit

  • LEDs
  • Copper taper
  • 3V watch batteries
  • Clear adhesive (Scotch Magic) tape
  • Small metal binder clips

The Instructions

1st Day -

Revisit your About Me profile. Is there anything you would add or revise since last session? Then find a partner, and swap sheets. On your own, quietly review your partner’s sheet, then use the post-it notes to identify at least 5 total similarities, differences, or things to ask the person more about. Use the notes but be clear, short and positive.

[If have access to iPad/Chromebooks, just have students swap tech, not print and share/swap. If using technology, have students add sticky note shapes as notes, or even just put in-life notes on screens. It’s important to encourage respect of original work but also model constructive feedback and finding possible collaboration points].

See About Me (Do it Now).gdraw

ANTICIPATORY SET (Motivation):  

In our first class meetings, you started to meet your fellow classmates and got a quick tour of all the tools and materials in the Makerspace. Today, we’ll dive deeper into who you are, what you want to learn, and how the skills you already have or want to learn can be valuable in your teams this term. By the end of this lesson, you’ll explore different materials cut on the major tools of the space, use basic arts & crafts tools such as the hot glue gun, and create your own name tag that expresses one of your “superpower” Maker skills. 

(optional) Show video from Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh Makeshop “I Am a Maker”

STANDARDS ADDRESSED: The following California Career Technical Education (CTE) Model Curriculum Standards are covered:

CTE Career Ready Practice

4. Apply technology (including digital fabrication tools) to enhance productivity. Career-ready individuals find and maximize the productive value of existing and new technology to accomplish workplace tasks and solve workplace problems. They are flexible and adaptive in acquiring and using new technology. They understand the inherent risks (including safety)—personal and organizational—of technology applications, and they take actions to prevent or mitigate these risks.

CTE Anchor Standards

5.0 Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

5.3 Use systems thinking to analyze how various components interact with each other to produce outcomes in a complex work environment.

5.6 Know the available resources for identifying and resolving problems.

7.0 Responsibility and Flexibility

7.3 Understand the need to adapt to changing and varied roles and responsibilities.

9.0 Leadership and Teamwork – Work with peers to promote divergent and creative perspectives, effective leadership, group dynamics, team and individual decision making, benefits of workforce diversity, and conflict resolution such as those practiced in the Future Business Leaders of America and Skills USA career technical student organization. (Direct alignment with SLS 11-12.1b)

9.1 Define leadership and identify the responsibilities, competencies, and behaviors of successful leaders.

10.0 Technical Knowledge and Skills

10.9 Use common industry-standard software and their applications including word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and multimedia software.

CTE Pathway

General, Engineering & Design employability skills, including planning and preparing for work — to include selection of correct tools and equipment.

Specifically, B. Engineering Technology Pathway

B7.0 Understand industrial engineering processes, including the use of tools and equipment, methods of measurement, and quality assurance.

B7.4 Estimate and measure the size of objects in both Standard International and United States units.

Common Core Math – Expressions & Equations

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.7.EE.B.4 – Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities.


Learners will know:

General uses for tools in the basic inventory of equipment and materials in the Makerspace

Major safety rules and considerations for major tools, including laser cutter, vinyl cutter, hand tools including cardboard snippers, Exacto knives, and hot glue guns.

Key leadership skills critical for completing an individual and group project in the Makerspace.

Learners will be able to . . .

Identify and choose appropriate materials for fabrication of a first project from a template, a nametag.

Solve a real-world design problem, given materials and size restraints, by practicing mathematical thinking and using measurement tools

Identify key skills for leadership and productive participation in balanced and cooperative teams

Construct and communicate a representation of identity, including literal and metaphors & symbols 

Present the challenge = (show slide)

FACILITATION (FORMERLY KNOWN AS TEACHING/PRESENTATION): o Input or Content: How to find and manipulate basic materials and arts & craft tools of the Makerspace, especially rulers and hot glue guns Measuring and calculating appropriate base tag width, based on number of letter in name Key leadership skills of a maker in a team Ways to communicate an abstract idea, such as a leadership skill, through symbols Modeling: Instructor will have working examples (or at least photos in a slideshow) of finished superpower name tags, give the challenge, then prompt and encourage learners to persist and finish “just in time” during project building. Instructor will also encourage learners who finish early to turn and support their peers in completing projects. Instructional Strategies: Think, Pair, Build, Pair (again), Share

Step 1: Present the challenge = (show slide) 

Today you will create a name tag that:

  • represents the version of your given name your teammates should call you
  • represents one maker superpower – one you have already or want to gain this term
  • has a base that evenly fits name based on # of letters OR creatively fits name and power
  • utilizes tiles created with 3 different tools

Review 3 types of tools/materials used to create tiles and available hand tools for today’s project:

Step 2: Review 3 types of tools/materials used to create tiles and available hand tools for today’s project:

  • (optional) Demo how Scrabble letter tiles were cut on each machine
  • Demo how to setup and use cutting and gluing tools safely

THINK ALOUD: Suggest an planning and creation approach, such as:

  • Pick the name you want your makerspace teammates to call you, and one skill you see on your own About Me profile.
  • Measure and calculate tag size based on your name length
  • Know your materials, and make creative decision to use tiles cut from different tools
  • (optional) if there’s time, we can try cutting more Scrabble tiles on different materials

  • = Prompt learner to document their planning in the Maker journals.

Open Build time

- learners build their own name tag projects.

(optional) Show your measurement calculation as an equation.

Use whiteboard to walk learners struggling with measurement and calculation through the process by constructing an equation together:

My name has ___ letters (a).

Each Scrabble tile is ____ inches wide (b).

Options for base tag width are ___, ___, ___ (d)

The room for border I want to leave is ___ on each side (c).

If my name has ___ letters (a), which base (d) should I choose? Write and solve this equation!

ab + 2c = d

Swap and Reflect

Find your partner from the earlier Do It Now activity and now swap nametags. Discuss in your pairs what worked and didn’t work while building your project and what you’d do differently the next time.


Share! Each learner introduces his/her partner to the whole group, highlighting their superpower!


EXTENSION: Introduce basic electronics through paper circuits, adding LED lights with simple switches using copper tape and watch batteries.

EXTENSION SEL: Have the students do an empathy focused interview and make a nametag for their partner instead of themselves


Formative Assessment: Check sketches and/or notes in Maker Journal during planning and building

Summative Assessments

  • End of class group discussion or later personal reflection/description in final term portfolio responses
  • Super Power Name tag Project Rubric score, as part of end of term portfolio project review.


Quick full group debrief discussion on what materials worked well and which did not, or if the group sees any natural clusters of similar or different skills. Are there any materials or skills missing that you would want to use on your next project? Also leave ample time to clean-up, reminding of correct cleanup and put away procedures. Give encouragement to the learners that take initiative or model quick and safe cleanup and point out areas that are complete or not during the process.

RUBRIC in full lesson plan.


  • (Fab-Electronics.1): I can follow instructions to build a simple electrical circuit using conductive material, basic components, and power.
  • (Fab-Fabrication.1): I can follow instructor guided steps that link a software to a machine to produce a simple physical artifact.
  • (Fab-Design.1): I can be responsible for various activities throughout a design process within a group under instructor guidance.
  • (7.EE.B4): Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities.

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  1. SCOPES-DF March 8, 2019
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