On May 16th and 17th, Maker Ed hosted the 3rd annual Maker Educator Convening in San Francisco. It was an exciting event, and it was great to have so many Maker Promise schools represented. Over the course of two days, educators examined  culturally responsive making, discussed the ways in which making can support equity, access, and language development, and even rapped about the importance of relevant computer science education. Overall, it was an exciting two days of connection and community, and we are thrilled to share with you some of the resources and discussions that came out of the Convening.

Spotlight on the Make the Way Project

How can maker challenges in a math class help to level some traditionally-skewed playing fields? How can authentic maker challenges be leveraged to let everyone in a class share in students’ exciting discoveries? How can this be done in schools without their own makerspaces, with materials that fit into a Rubbermaid tote and have a consumables costs of less
than a dollar per student?


These are some of the questions Ben Ford, Math Professor from Sonoma State University and Brent Jackson, Santa Rosa City Schools are looking to answer with their Make the Way research project. As the keynote speakers at the Maker Educator Convening earlier this month, Ford and Jackson described a set of unique maker challenge learning cycles for K–8 math classrooms, developed through a partnership between the Santa Rosa City Schools, Sonoma State University, and the California Math Project: North Coast. The challenges were designed to around four key concepts:

  • Maintaining benefits of maker learning while broadening and deepening engagement, and building agency, authority and identity.
  • Sharing learning across class and contextualizing math learning.
  • Targeting key grade-level math concepts.
  • Improving learning outcomes for Latinx and EL students.

Currently, these maker challenge learning cycles are being piloted in many of the district’s most diverse schools, and enthusiasm is high. Preliminary results suggest positive impacts on students’ mathematics learning, and teacher observations suggest increased student agency, authority, and identity in mathematics. For example, after the first year of the Make the Way project, 3rd & 4th grade students significantly outperformed non-MtW counterparts (control group) on the California state standardized test (Smarter Balanced Assessment).

Learn a bit more about the challenges through Ben and Brent’s keynote presentation and slides then hear from teachers about how the challenges are impacting their students’ learning and their own learning here.

Resources and Opportunities

  • Check out more resources from the Maker Educator Convening including Quick Talk slides and materials from workshops and demonstrations here.