Makerspaces allow students to explore their own interests and choose what problems they want to solve. A makerspace can be the corner of a library or classroom. It can be a dedicated STEM lab for students to visit on a weekly basis. It can even be just a rolling cart with a few inexpensive supplies on it.
Makerspaces empower students to explore on their own, find solutions and create something without worrying about failure. There is no failure in a makerspace because there is no single correct answer. In makerspaces, students can explore, tinker, engineer and design. They can pursue their curiosity and creativity openly.
Encouraging STEM skills
When we talk about welcoming more STEM learning in schools, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we have to design specific experiments or activities related to science, technology, engineering and math for it to count. But STEM learning is far more than just computer coding and science experiments. The skills students need to think like scientists and engineers are the same skills they can gain from making. They develop critical thinking skills, collaborate with others, pursue curiosity and use the materials in front of them to create solutions.
Starting students early
The great thing about using makerspaces as a way to encourage STEM thinking in the classroom is that it is appropriate for students of all ages. Even before they learn the details of the scientific method or the engineering design process, they can practice what it means to solve problems by trying a solution, learning from failure and trying again. Incorporating makerspaces in early learning is a fantastic way to get even very young students developing foundational skills that will help them in their future educational and career pursuits.