New Ways to Engage Students: Makerspaces

Updated: May 27, 2021

By Grace Rubenstein, CEI Intern

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Engaging, fun, hands-on experiences. Makerspaces serve as a balancing act against the stifling nature of a classroom learning environment. First, psychological research indicates that passive school education may inhibit a person’s internal drive to learn, whereas active learning can enhance that drive. Second, the vast variety of learning types means that few actually benefit from passive education. For instance, auditory learners may do well with lectures, while kinesthetic learners would have trouble staying focused.


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Following their initial choosing of subjects, students then could receive further support from experts. The ideal goal is for the students to feel personally invested in their projects, which hopefully will ignite a spark of inspiration to pursue a STEM field. If not, it at least endows in them a sense of respect for the role of STEM in our society.

Makerspace at Piner High School in California

Piner High School in Santa Rosa, California, serves as a promising example of a small high school makerspace where youth were fully engaged from the start. Biology teacher, Dante DePaola, has espoused the value of keeping his students wholly involved in all aspects of creating the maker space. The students assisted their teacher in woodworking every single piece of furniture. Since then, he has asked his students to bring in examples of work from other makerspaces that inspire them.


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