Instructables is a slick DIY and how-to share site intended primarily for adults, but it has lots of projects middle and high school students could do. Instructables is super easy to use with large fonts, icons, easy edit and delete functions, and the ability to take photos in-app. Projects range from a giant sun jar (made with a clear glass cookie jar, solar lights, LEDs, and frosting spray) to maple bacon cheddar garlic biscuits to a homemade arc welder. Contest topics include jewelry, puppets, and bikes; registered users can vote for their favorites.
The app opens in Explore mode with large photo-based panels in eight categories. The main menu includes a search function, contests, followed contributors, and a profile page. You can vote for contest entries, comment on instructables, or create your own instructable (to create a new instructable, you'll need to register with username, email, and password). Users tap on instructable panels (title, photo, and contributor) to bring up step-by-step instructions and photo illustrations. Video links don't always work, and contest instructions display nonsense symbols in some versions of the app.
Attempting an instructable means applying information, testing meaning with real-world objects, making inferences about part-whole relationships, and thinking critically. Kids must combine previous knowledge with some research or adult assistance. If attempting to create an instructable, kids will test their imaginations, push the limits of innovation, and set goals like winning votes in contests. Because engineering is a trial-and-error process, kids will have to move beyond obstacles and persevere when things go wrong.
While some instructables, like the "Arc Welder," would only be appropriate for shop class, many, like "Polymer Clay Dragon Pendant," "Puffy Dimensional Paint Jewelry," and "Tape Painting," are quite doable as classroom art or integrated unit studies projects. Although instructables listed in Explore mode categories avoid most sophisticated content, potentially inappropriate topics can be found in searches (recipes for alcoholic beverages, "How to Put on a Condom," etc.), so you'll want to carefully structure access to the app. You'll also want to model reading through all the instructions before starting to determine needs like background knowledge, equipment, materials, cost, and safety.