A Teacher's Guide to Promoting Agency & Action Through Making

Target Audiences: Grades 1 - 8

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We live in a quickly changing world that is asking our young people to generate solutions to complex, involved problems.  How do we support our students from the beginning of their school experience to have the desire, capacity and thinking skills to generate creative and effective solutions to problems they face both now and in their futures?

STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Maths) can be a powerful tool in helping our students to build agency and take action to change the world around them. From investigating, redesigning and creating objects to fulfil a need, to exploring social systems and taking action to design solutions to problems we can help our students to build and use the tools and capacities common to makerspaces to take meaningful, connected action and develop voice, choice and ownership of their learning.

This workshop blends conceptual understanding and knowledge with practical pedagogical strategies and approaches, and is designed for primary/elementary homeroom teachers, as well as technology specialists and leaders.  Throughout the two days, we model and introduce thinking routines, questioning strategies, and approaches to encourage and support agency and action through design. The workshop is intentionally planned to put you, at times, in the role of the student to enable you to relate to the student experience, and apply this understanding to your classroom practice. In addition to the workshop content and practical activities, you will have time to reflect, set goals and plan for your own practice with our support.

Perhaps you are wondering how or why to start to embed making, creating and tinkering in your teaching. Your school or classroom may already have an embedded makerspace or STEM/STEAM program. Whatever your context, this workshop will help you to take the next steps to make STEAM learning more purposeful, meaningful and effective, by helping your students to build agency and take action through design.