Maker education is a HUGE initiative that is taking the nation by storm. This is caused by the need for students to experience real life problems, be able to problem solve in many different scenarios, and the general importance put on STEM education. These are all fantastic reasons to incorporate Making into teaching! The only issue is that most of the maker programs are doing it wrong!

Now, don't get me wrong, it is cool that kids are given time to make things with their hands and work in teams to problem solve, but there are elements missing that can connect what happens in the classroom, to the real world. I will highlight three of the most common issues that I see in schools today regarding maker education.

Learning Connections
Making does nothing without connecting it to learning. Without putting meaning, and connecting the making to what you are learning, you are just hosting a glorified art classroom. Use the standards in your grade level to create units that challenge the students, that make them have to solve an issue in our world, while still learning the material. This then becomes the build challenge. Your maker space can host the learning, and creation of their authentic solution to your units problem. Your students will dive deeper, remember more, and enjoy learning in ways you have never seen before.

Engineering Design Process
Although this is not required to use in your maker space, it is a great metacognition tool. This design process is one that is very flexible, and often very visible when learning. Take the time to walk students through what it looks like and how you can identify the steps. Make them understand that this process is non-linear, and very fluid. Help them to think about their thinking by using a tool like this in your maker space.

Scientific Method
Hands down the biggest area of neglect. Maker spaces today focus so much on the engineering design process, that they often forget about the scientific method. This is a different process, and arguably just as important and the engineering design process. This is a linear approach to solving a problem. Set the stage with students so they can experience both of these methods during their maker time. Make them think like real world employees, and challenge the world through a scientific lens. 

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