STEM Learning While Making: All Lives Can't Matter Until Black Lives Matter
This is a story about learning STEM content and practices while making objects. It is also a story about how that learning is contextualized in one young man’s disruption of racism simply by trying to learn how gears work. Our project, Investigating STEM Literacies in MakerSpaces (STEMLiMS), focuses on how adults and youth use representations to accomplish tasks in STEM disciplines in formal and informal making spaces (Tucker-Raymond, Gravel, Kohberger, & Browne, 2017). Making is an interdisciplinary endeavor that may involve mechanical and electrical engineering, digital literacies and programming, mathematics and any number of science disciplines depending on the topic of what one is making. At the same time, makers pay attention to aesthetics—the look, feel, and artistic dimensions of their projects—and to the messages or ideas they want to express. Messages in making are important, because they reflect what makers experience and care about.