This Prototyping Puppets project combines craft and performance art to teach early middle school students basic prototyping skills.

We are developing informal STEM workshops following three steps:


1) narrative framing

2) craft-inspired building

3) validation through performance.


This key approach combines craft, performative self-expression, and basic hardware prototyping with the goal to attract new audiences to STEM. Researchers at Georgia Tech and at the Center for Puppetry Arts develop and test this approach through multiple puppet-building workshops aimed at informal education for middle-schoolers.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number #1612686.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.



We develop simple puppet designs to help students explore basic prototyping. All of our designs are freely available below. If you have any questions or find errors, please contact the research team.


Nitsche, Michael, Crystal Eng, Firaz Peer. “Ownership in Making Puppets.” (paper presented at:)

         First Co-Creation Workshop at International Conference on Computational Creativity (ICCC 2017)

         (June 19, 2017 Atlanta, GA). (246 KB)



Restrepo, Isabel, Michael Nitsche, Crystal Eng. “Prototyping Puppets beyond Borders.” In:

          Proceedings of the 23rd International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA 2017) (June 11-18, 2017

          Manizales, Colombia) Bogota, ISEA International, 2017. 87-94. (347 KB)



Peer, Firaz, Michael Nitsche, Lauren Schaffer. "Power Puppet: Science and Technology Education

          through Puppet building." In: Proceedings of the IDC  '14 (June 17-20, Aarhus, DK) New York:

          ACM, 2014. 221-224 (1.2MB)



Michael Nitsche


Principal Investigator


Georgia Institute of Technology


Crystal Eng


Graduate Researcher


Georgia Institute of Technology


Aretta Baumgartner



Center for Puppetry Arts

Education Director


Jeff Domke



Center for Puppetry Arts

Education Coordinator


Tom McKlin



The Findings Group

External Evaluator


Isabel Restrepo



Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Associate Professor



Thom Stanley



Puppeteer / Director


Melissa Foulger



Georgia Institute of Technology

DramaTech Director


Kylie Peppler



Indiana University

Associate Professor