Chances are you’ve heard the term STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), or STEAM (Science, Education, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) over the past several years. It’s a movement in education that encourages critical thinking, increases science literacy, and is geared to create a new generation of inventors. These are certainly important skills for students to learn as they play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy. So how does a school effectively teach STEM/STEAM? Enter makerspace…
Makerspace is irrevocably linked to the STEM movement. Educators and parents have seen students thrive when they have the opportunity to experience with technology, and they have the tools to do so. Makerspace provides this creative space for educators and their students, and they vary in size, and ability based upon the district’s needs. Some schools have created rotation stations that provide a variety of activities. For example, at one station, a teacher will guide a small group through a hands on, virtual heart surgery. While at another station, a teacher is guiding a group of students through working with snap circuits. The possibilities are endless.
Studies show that multi-sensory learning for students of all ages and abilities is one of the most successful teaching techniques. It engages all senses, stimulates the brain, and children enjoy what they’re learning because they are engaged in their own educational experience. When makerspace and STEM education work together, multi-sensory learning becomes inevitable.
There is a space and a budget for each school to have a STEM makerspace. One school may open up a corner of their school library and begin experimenting with a low-tech creative space. This space can provide a place for students create, build, and experiment with various low cost materials. Another school, might set aside an entire classroom, where there’s additional outlets, strong wi-fi, and have the funding to purchase virtual reality headsets, or a 3D printer. Grants and funding are readily accessible for schools wanting to implement STEM education, as well as the creative spaces needed to do it.
Makerspace is about gathering students together to share resources, knowledge, network, and build. These are skills everyone needs, including our own rising generation of students. What better way to teach them, than through a multi-sensory learning environment that encourages collaboration, thought, and creation.