Makerspaces and STEAM are the latest education buzzwords. Let's take a look at why these ideas are so popular, and how to integrate them into your classroom.
There are quite a few words being thrown around that lead back to Makerspaces and STEAM. STEM, STEAM, Makerspace, FabLab, Tinkerlab — any of these sound familiar? They all come back to the idea of hands-on learning with students, teaching with a focus on self-directed learning, problem-solving, creativity, and collaboration.
The Makerspace itself is simply a place where students can do what the name implies, “Make.” Whether your school elects to fund a Makerspace, or you set one up in a hallway, or you're using a collection of storage boxes (for easy storage when not in use), it doesn't matter. Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes. The most important part of your space is the mindset you establish for it.
The idea is to create a welcoming, engaging space for students where they can explore different ideas, employ self-directed learning, and solve problems using whatever tools are supplied.
Much of the above is paraphrased from Meredith Martin's training session, Getting Started with Makerspaces and STEAM. The following examples and links are also from her presentation, which I encourage you to view in full inside the Teacher Learning Community.
Math ideas for integrating Makerspaces and STEAM into the classroom:
- Spirolateral Math Art
- Parabolic Curves
- Pi Skyline
- Musical Fractions
- Area & Perimeter Using Lego
- 19 Cool Math STEM Activities
Science ideas for integrating Makerspaces and STEAM in the classroom:
- Force & Motion
- Bird Beak Adaptation
- Soda Bottle Ecosystem
- Why Do Leaves Change Color?
- How Much Weight Can Your Boat Float?
- Articulated Skeleton Hand
Social Studies ideas for integrating Makerspaces and STEAM in the classroom:
- 3D Topographic Maps
- Roman Architecture Projects
- Ancient Egypt STEM Activities
- 50 DIY Projects For Social Studies
- PBL in Social Studies
- 4 Educators’ Keys to Connecting STEM and Social Studies
Language Arts ideas for integrating Makerspaces and STEAM in the classroom:
- Google Lit Trips
- Book Trailers
- Fairy Tale STEM
- STEM in ELA
- The Role of English Language Arts in STEM
- From STEM to STEAM to STREAM
For more on Makerspaces, STEAM, and how to get started with it all. Take a look at SimpleK12's online course, Getting Started with Makerspaces: In STEAM Classes and Across Curriculum. I hope you take a look and enjoy all the valuable information given in this course.
Do you feel more prepared for getting started with your own Makerspace in your STEAM classroom? Let me know if you found this article useful in a comment below.
About the Author
Kimber Thompson is a Lead Moderator for SimpleK12 webinars and a Contributing Editor for SimpleK12.com. She writes frequently about education topics and is passionate about tools and techniques that inspire young learners. You may reach her with ideas and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.