A design-based research study of school-based makerspaces in the discipline of mathematics.


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The Maker Movement is a trend that has gained momentum in education which places students at the center of learning where they become creators or makers of things in a makerspace. While educational leaders see the potential for the Maker Movement to support learning, researchers have called for an increased focus on exploring students’ learning through making, particularly concerning the learning of specific content or disciplines. The purpose of this study was to explore the mathematics learning or mathematical proficiency of students when mathematics was taught in an educational makerspace. The study was conducted through design-based research to determine what strands of mathematical proficiency were evident as part of a makerspace experience. The participants of the study were two seventh-grade mathematics teachers and their students in four seventh-grade mathematics classes. As part of the design-based research (DBR), the researcher and the teachers partnered together to develop a pilot study and two makerspace experiences following educational making principles in the form of Resnick’s 4P’s – projects, peers, passion, and play- that targeted students’ mathematical proficiency. The researcher collected observation data, student artifacts in the form of student creations and written reflections, and interviews with the practitioner, which informed the study. The data were coded into the five strands of mathematical proficiency as defined by the National Research Council ([NRC], 2001). Furthermore, the data went through axial coding to determine if any other relevant themes emerged. Results from this study revealed all five strands of mathematical proficiency were evident in the observations, student artifacts, and teacher interviews collected by the researcher when students engaged in educational making. Additionally, two other themes emerged, including exploring mathematics beyond the intended learning goal and the importance of developing makerspace experiences that release content learning in conjunction with the educational making. The researcher provided implications and recommendations based on these results along with potential future areas of research.



Makerspace. Mathematics. Education.