How can design thinking help me to create an inclusive makerspace in my classroom?

Thinking about an inclusive classroom means all students are included, regardless of ability or gender. Often people (and students) are categorized by ability and gender and are judged right off the bat. According to Invent to Learn by Martinez, it is human nature to size up a room and get a feeling if one belongs or not. Our students have the same feeling when they enter a classroom. All must feel included and able to complete something in the classroom in order to contribute their learning in some way.

Makerspaces are a great way to include all students! Having students working with their hands and creating masterpieces will give all students a sense of belongingness and a sense of accomplishment. This is also done with the aid of the facilitator, the teacher, to help students understand all have the ability to complete something, some may have to problem solve more than others but that is what makerspace is all about, tinkering!

Temple Grandin was a guest speaker on SUNY Oneonta’s campus which I was able to view digitally through Youtube, “Calling All Minds with Temple Grandin”. She gave great advice and information toward including all students, including those who have a categorized disability. She spoke from experience and the first major point that stuck out to me was that long strands of information is not beneficial to students. This is included in hands on activities, those that would be included in a makerspace. Giving directions in small segments is best for all students. Furthermore, she mentioned the importance of giving students choices. When students feel in control of their learning they are more engaged in the lesson and content. She also brought up how NASA has many employees that are on the spectrum and do miraculous things! And she connected this to learning through tinkering. This is required in order to make something work- problem solving at its best! Lasting, she brought up how classes, such as cooking classes fosters creativity and problem solving. We need to keep these classes in schools to help students develop these skills, which is why tinkering is important in culinary classes for all students!

Martinez, S. L., & Stager, G. (2019). Learning. In C. Sinclair (Ed.), Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

Youtube: Calling All Minds with Temple Grandin

5 thoughts on “How can design thinking help me to create an inclusive makerspace in my classroom?”

  1. Hi Ashley,

    I love your explanation in the first paragraph. It is so true that students can feel like they sometimes do not belong based on snap judgments of others. It is our job to ensure that our students feel welcome and comfortable in the environment we have created for them. Makerspaces allow for each student to play on their individual needs, strengths and creativity! I think that the various options in a makerspace allow students individual choice which is so important so that they can all show understanding in their own way!
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Good morning Ashley,

    I also watched Temple Grandin’s video on Youtube. I think it is great that SUNY Oneonta had her come. One of the points that really stuck out to me was giving students options. One thing that I like to do is put multiple questions in one cup and let students choose 2 or 3 out of the 6 or 7 questions to complete at each station. Students feel like they have a choice in what they are learning and I have seen levels of engagement soar. Your post hit so many great points. Thanks for a wonderful post!

    All the best,

  3. Ashley,

    I enjoyed reading your entire post! Providing students with hands-on experiences allows them to feel like they have created something in their learning environment. I also enjoyed how you stated that students must be given instructions in small doses. If students are given too much information at once, their memory will not be able to obtain it all.

    Overall, great post!


    Jaidin Tonneson

  4. Hello!
    I agree with you regarding giving directions. It is better for students to receive directions in small chunks. I have learned this from experience. When I first started teaching, that was one of the first things that I had to work on. This especially helps for students who have slower processing speeds than others.
    Great post!

  5. Ashley,
    Thank you for such a great post! I agree Temple Grandin’s speech was incredible. I think that is is so important to give students choice throughout the learning process and make time for hands-on activities so that the students have a chance to problem-solve and relate to what they are learning. The more choice and struggle they have in the classroom, the more likely they are to be engaged and inspired to create, but also the more accomplished they will feel when they reach a goal!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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