Technology is an important part of our world. With an increasing number of jobs developing in the tech industry, it’s important that schools prepare students by teaching them how to use technology in class. And teachers have seen incredible results from using technology to teach important STEM concepts, including an increasing in student engagement and performance.
But where does that leave literacy and the arts? Are students missing out on fundamental skills as they’re swept away in the tech world? This is the concern of many educators and parents.
However, some teachers have found a new method for bringing the arts and literacy into classroom projects. By using makerspaces as a hub for hands on activities and group assignments, teachers have found that they can easily incorporate writing, and literacy into STEM lessons by immersing students in the imaginative process of storytelling.
Transitioning from STEM to STEAM with Makerspaces
STEM centered curriculum receives a lot of attention and it rightfully should. It provides students the knowledge and skills they need for jobs in engineering, medicine, technology, and science. However, literacy is just as important for students because they need to be able to do things that involve interdisciplinary skills like tackling complex word problems. And after graduation, students will need to be able to read, communicate, and write effectively both for professional reasons and personal reasons
That’s why many educators have taken it upon themselves to begin including the Arts in STEM lessons. STEAM projects more authentically represent real life situations as people are often required to call upon multiple skills to complete tasks at work and in the real world. STEAM projects also nourish creativity and inventiveness, traits which set apart leaders in the workplace.
However, many hands on projects cannot be performed at a desk with a pen and paper. They require special materials, tools, and a large space where students can make and create. Makerspaces provide exactly this. Makerspaces are designated spaces where students can gather together and use their hands to create, make, and invent. By using makerspaces, educators can prompt students to call on knowledge they’ve gained from various subjects and use higher level thinking and problem solving skills.
How Do Makerspaces Facilitate Storytelling?
Makerspaces give students a way to become more engaged and involved in literacy. Not all students are interested in the idea of sitting down with a book or a pen and paper. But by adding makerspaces into the mix, students become much more interested in literature. Students can read a book or write an assignment, but the literacy concepts they learn are brought to life when they are given the opportunity to make or create something. In this way, they are telling a story through multi-media.
Educators have used makerspaces to teach literacy in many different ways. Students may be prompted to use materials to create an alternative ending to a book. Or they may be given the assignment to use clay or art supplies to create the main character from a book, which helps them to be able to identify character traits. Videos and powerpoints may be used to help students learn about plot and sequencing the events in a story.
Through these tasks, the act of storytelling becomes much less about the physical task of writing and more about creating and imagining. Makerspaces provide a space in the classroom where these types of arts and crafts and hands on activities can happen. Most importantly, they allow students to become active participants that are invested in their learning.
Maker Furniture from the Supple Collection
What’s essential for makerspaces to be effective requires more than just the right supplies and material. How these spaces are designed is crucial. Makerspaces need to allow for movement and collaboration and prioritize comfort. They need to be able to give students the space and freedom they need to create.
Furniture from the Supple Collection is designed to accomplish exactly this. Our furniture allows students to easily converse and collaborate with one another as they work together to solve problems and exchange ideas. From Maker workstations for adult learners to the MODI collection for students in grade school, our collection of Maker furniture is vast and able to meet the needs of learners of all ages.
Contact us today to discuss ideas for a makerspace for your classroom!