The PASS team attended the ISTE 2023 conference in Philadelphia, getting the opportunity to see new developments in education technology. We were fortunate to talk with many educators about how student wellbeing universal screeners can make a positive difference in students’ use of education technology, including their time spent in the STEAM classroom. We created the below list of makerspace activities that can be used when informed by data from a student wellbeing screener, like PASS.
What is a Makerspace?
A makerspace is any space that allows students to learn through exploration. School libraries often host makerspace centers, though any classroom can benefit from these hands-on learning experiences. Makerspace lessons can address multiple subject areas, with many including an element of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), allowing for an interdisciplinary approach to learning.
Universal Screeners Can Increase the Effectiveness of Makerspace Lessons
How does a teacher decide upon the skill set(s) to address when planning makerspace activities? A student wellbeing universal screener like PASS helps teachers understand the specific needs of their students and plan lessons to address those needs. It also allows teachers to proactively support students in the following broad areas:
- Connectedness to peers, teachers, and the curriculum
- Motivation to attend school
- Perception of themselves as scholars
- Envisioning long-term goals
- Ability to self-regulate and utilize a growth mindset
PASS is a universal screener that helps uncover non-academic barriers to learning. Students complete a survey on their feelings about school and themselves as learners.
Focused on these broad areas, PASS provides measures based on the following nine factors.
The data from universal screeners like PASS are also used to assess the effectiveness of STEAM activities and justify applications for grants and proposals.
STEAM Intervention Strategies
We’ve compiled a list of makerspace lessons and activities aligned to the above broad areas where students need support and aligned to the nine PASS factors. These lessons are simple to initiate and can be implemented at all grade levels.
PASS Factor 1: Feelings About School
Puzzle & Board Game Station: With this activity, give students easy access to board games and puzzles. Students, teachers, and staff can start a puzzle and take turns piecing it together or play a board game as a group. This allows for communication skills practice and conversations among students whose paths may not typically cross.
PASS Factor 5: Attitudes to Teachers
Kindness Challenge: In this activity, teachers and students work together to spread kindness around the school. Paint rocks with positive messages. Hide sticky notes with inspirational quotes in books or on bulletin boards. Distribute “caught being kind” certificates around the school. These examples are just a few to try. Working with teachers toward a common goal helps students build deeper connections with the adults in the school building.
PASS Factor 8: Attitudes to Attendance
School Garden: A garden requires regular care and maintenance. Task students with caring for and helping a garden to grow, giving them a new sense of responsibility and motivation to attend school. Create specific roles and explain how students will be held accountable. The lesson can continue throughout the school year, with options for indoor and outdoor gardens. Add an extra level of motivation by allowing students to take their crops home or hold a plant sale to help fund supplies.
PASS Factor 2: Perceived Learning Capability
Craft Corner: This activity lets students learn new and celebrate their talents. Give students opportunities to sew, create bracelets, use a 3D printer, and knit, to name a few. Provide how-to books and directions with materials so students can learn new skills, develop resilience, and practice following instructions. Display completed student work in community spaces, perhaps even participating in a local craft fair where students can sell their creations. A craft corner allows students to explore, showcase, and celebrate non-academic skills which may not typically be recognized in a school setting.
PASS Factor 3: Learner Self-Regard
Address a Need in the Community: Is there a local nursing home with residents who may benefit from socialization with young people? Work with students to identify a need in the community and develop a plan to address it. Collect cards around the holidays, create artwork based on residents’ interests, start a pen-pal program, or conduct interviews and document stories. Let students feel the joy of helping others and see their work’s value and importance in the community. Make sure they understand the impact of their efforts.
PASS Factor 4: Preparedness for Learning
Self-Regulation Station: Provide a space for students to regulate their emotions throughout the school day, with access to items such as fidget toys, stress balls, coloring pages, and word searches. Students of all ages can benefit from access to tangible resources that allow them to relax and refocus throughout the school day.
PASS Factor 7: Confidence in Learning
Breakout & Escape Rooms: In this activity, students can practice working through a challenge in a fun, low-stakes environment. Plenty of free classroom breakouts are available online, with many coinciding with curriculum goals in various subject areas. For extra motivation, reward students with a free homework pass if they escape before time runs out
PASS Factor 6: General Work Ethic
Schoolwide Newscast or Newsletter: Highlight special events for upperclassmen and unique student achievements. You can even invite alums to return and share how their experiences in school have helped them in their careers. Broadcasts and newsletters can be student-run, providing opportunities to work behind the scenes or in the spotlight. Additionally, young viewers and readers can learn about future opportunities they can look forward to in older grade levels and beyond.
Create a Vision Board: Utilize a bulletin board where students and staff can glue or tape photos that represent their goals and motivations throughout the school year. Using this schoolwide vision board as an example, provide a variety of materials for students to create personal vision boards. Discuss vision boards with students and tangible ways they can achieve those goals.
PASS Factor 9: Response to Curriculum Demands
Virtual Reality Experiences: Don’t just learn about new topics – explore them! Virtual field trips allow students to immerse themselves in their learning, building deeper connections to the curriculum and increasing student engagement. Virtual reality headsets can be inexpensive with free videos online that can take students around the world, under the sea, or into space.
How PASS Can Support Your Efforts
Learn more about how PASS supports students by reading our guide to the proactive factors for success in supporting student wellbeing or any of our case studies from educators nationwide. Plus, you can request a demo to learn more and see PASS in action here.
Hartman, E. A. (n.d.). Makerspaces: What's old is new again. School Library Journal. https://www.slj.com/story/makerspaces-whats-old-is-new-again_220912 Jia Y, Zhou B, Zheng X. A Curriculum Integrating STEAM and Maker Education Promotes Pupils' Learning Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Interdisciplinary Knowledge Acquisition. Front Psychol. 2021 Sep 8;12:725525. doi 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.725525. PMID: 34566810; PMCID: PMC8455939. "Makerspaces", American Library Association, November 7, 2013.