• An introduction to makerspaces

An introduction to makerspaces

The What?

There isn’t yet a set definition for makerspaces. People agree they can be described as a place students can use materials to develop creative projects. Makerspaces promote STEAM learning through experiments and play.

Students visiting makerspaces have the chance to explore themes through practical experiences. Makerspaces are designed to introduce activities with focus on shifting learning goals as required. Makerspaces can be created just about anywhere. They are most commonly found in schools, libraries and as stand-alone/portable spaces.

The Why?

Introducing a makerspace means you can use a variety of subjects in one particular experiment. This creates an outcome that expresses individuality and creativity that would not otherwise be seen. Makerspaces bring together the subjects of a STEAM curriculum: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths – merging them for creative outcomes.

The other important aspect makerspaces introduce is a shift from teacher-centric learning to student-centric. The role of teacher shifts as the end result is not always a set one. Instead everyone works together to create a solution.

The How?

Setting up the space.
  • If you’re on a restricted budget, a table and some chairs will do!
  • If you have a bigger budget purchase specialist STEAM workstations or made to order items from specialist retailers. 
What Lessons to Teach?
  • Makerspace projects are always evolving. You can start with a focus on robotics that evolves into architecture and art can merge into science.
  • Let students choose what to work on based on their interests.
  • Each project should follow a simple inquiry model i.e. identify problem, test, ask for feedback, further testing, then draw a conclusion. You can decide whether or not to continue the inquiry based on the information gathered.
  • Keeping things fluid and embracing the unknown will prove helpful in this environment.
  • Use techniques like live tweeting to get answers to questions. Open communication channels with others exploring similar projects.
What Products To Buy?
  • On a restricted budget? You can purchase products from your local discount shop, or ask students to bring items from home.
  • If you have a bigger budget, there are a number of great STEAM products available. Check out the OfficeMax range for a variety of budgets.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to makerspaces. The best thing you can do is get started. Share your experiences with other teachers in your school or in online forums. Learn from what others are doing and build your confidence step by step.

Read our second blog 'The Essentials For Starting Your Makerspace' for more information to help you get started.

Want To Learn More About STEAM?

Visit our STEAM Inspiration Page for innovative products, resources, lesson plans and more to help make teaching STEAM easier.


OfficeMax Shop Your Way