Makerspace (Courtesy of Leader in Me)
We agree with experts that preparing today’s children to become the innovators and inventors of tomorrow begins with STEM education programs.
Experts say summer camps, after-school programs, and makerspaces provide opportunities to take traditional learning and pivot it to prioritize the hands-on experience and real-world application necessary for developing an innovative mind.
You may ask what a makerspace is. A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library, or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring, and sharing that uses high-tech to no-tech tools.
These spaces are open to kids, adults, and entrepreneurs and have several maker equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, soldering irons, and even sewing machines.
But a makerspace does not need to include all of these machines or even any of them to be considered a makerspace.
If you have cardboard, legos, and art supplies you’re in business. If you are interested in finding out more about laser cutters though, you could always take a look at someone like Boss Laser.
They can provide different types of lasers from home use to industrial ones. It might be worthwhile having a look at it if you want to make your own makerspace at home as well.
It is more of the maker mindset of creating something out of nothing and exploring your own interests that’s at the core of a makerspace.
According to pundits and resource persons, these spaces are also helping to prepare those who need the critical 21st-century skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
They provide hands-on learning, help with critical thinking skills and even boost self-confidence. Some of the skills that are learned in a makerspace pertain to electronics, 3d printing, 3D modeling, coding, robotics and even woodworking.
Makerspaces are also fostering entrepreneurship and are being used as incubators and accelerators for business startups
Do we get any benefits from STEM education?
But of course. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy.
This innovation and science literacy depends on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas.
Research has shown that STEM education is effective in improving students’ learning outcomes, such as academic learning achievement, student motivation, attitude, and problem-solving skills.
Is it that important? STEM is important because it teaches critical thinking skills and instills a passion for innovation.
Beyond the benefit of learning science, technology, engineering, and math, STEM assists in the problem-solving and exploratory learning that fuel success across a variety of tasks and disciplines
STEM-based education teaches children more than science and mathematics concepts. The focus on hands-on learning with real-world applications helps develop a variety of skill sets, including creativity and 21st-century skills.
How is STEM used in everyday life? STEM can help teach important life skills, especially budgeting and handling money. You can integrate mathematical skills into everyday life in a useful way. If you have younger children, look at your shopping list together.