Designing a Space for Making

Educator designs an environment that is conducive to maker-centered education and based on the needs and experiences of their community members.
Made by Maker Ed
Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator leverages guiding questions and interviews students to begin developing a physical space for making.

Method Components

Any space can be a makerspace if used intentionally. You don’t need a whole new room specifically devoted to being the makerspace. A corner of your classroom, a rolling cart, an unused computer lab, a part of the library – all of these spaces can be your makerspace.

Successfully planning a makerspace requires careful attention to the following key areas:
These descriptions have been drawn from the Making + Learning Framework

  • Parts & Pieces
    • How is the layout of your space conducive to making? How is it now?
    • What kinds of tools and materials will support making in your space?
  • People
    • Who is making in your space?
    • What kinds of relationships will be fostered in your space?
  • Purpose
    • What are the goals in developing a makerspace?
    • What are the values that drive making in your space?

The Makerspace Planning Sheet (See Resources section) will walk you through a series of key questions that will help guide you as you introduce a space for making into your learning environment. As part of your makerspace planning process, you will need to take some time to interview your students. Collecting interests, hopes, and ideas from the youth who will be using the space will help drive its ability to be youth-centered.

Sample interview questions for youth:

  • What do you enjoy doing most when you have free time?
  • Is there anything that you’d really love to build, make, and/or invent?
  • What are the things you see yourself as good at when it comes to helping others?
  • What are the ways you most enjoy helping people out?
  • What are you curious about?
  • What are some things you’re most excited to learn or get better at?
  • Is there anything that makes you nervous that you’d like more practice and help with?
  • Think about your favorite space (a room in your home or school, or even a space outside). Why is it your favorite? What do you like about it? If you could add anything to your favorite space, what would it be and why? (Chang et al. 5)

As all communities are unique, it is important to develop interview questions that are specific to the community being served. Use the questions above for guidance, but be sure to craft your own interview questions, or adjust the sample questions in a way that will get at the specific needs and interests of your community of learners.

The answers provided by students during the interview process, along with your answers to the questions posed on the Makerspace Planning Sheet, should guide the steps you take when implementing your makerspace. What kinds of data can you pull from your interviews? Are there any clear patterns or themes that you see emerging from your discussions with learners?

Let your students’ insights give you a sense of what the space should look like and how materials might be arranged to best meet their needs and interests. Perhaps your interviews with learners will reveal that you have more of the parts and pieces necessary to start your makerspace than you had originally thought.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Chang, Stephanie, Steve Davee, Maker Ed, Goli Mohammadi, Lisa Regalla. Youth Makerspace Playbook. Maker Education Initiative, 2015.

  • Martinez, Sylvia Libow, and Gary Stager. Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, 2013.

  • Nair, Prakash, and Randall Fielding. The Language of School Design: Design Patterns for 21st Century Schools. DesignShare, 2005.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 as well as a “Yes” for each component in Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(200-word limit total per response):

  • In what type of learning environment do you work? (school, after-school, library, museum, etc.)
  • Ages of learners?
  • What subject(s) do you teach?
  • In what type of space will you be incorporating making? (new makerspace, classroom, library, repurposed space)
  • Why are you interested in creating a dedicated space for making in your learning environment?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

  1. Completed Makerspace Planning Sheet
  2. Include records of interviews with youth
    • Feel free to utilize some of the sample questions presented in the Method Components, but earner must develop at least three original, community-specific questions.
    • Form of documentation is up to earner.
  3. Documentation of the space in which you plan on implementing making
    • Remember that any space can be a makerspace if used intentionally.
    • Documentation can take on the form with which earner is most comfortable (layout drawing, video, photo collection, etc.)
  4. Graphic organizer that explores and examines the parts and pieces, purpose, and people that comprise their community, and how the educator plans to ground their makerspace in these interrelated parts.
    • Look to analyze and describe any common themes and patterns that emerge from student interviews.

Part 3. Educator Reflection

(300-word limit per response):

  • How did the needs/interests/hopes/passions expressed by students surprise you?
  • What are some next steps you plan on taking to develop and prepare your makerspace?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

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