RIPLeS: Re-Imagining Practice in STEM Learning Spaces

A collaborative PD experience to enable innovative practice in school STEM programming

This collaborative school network engages STEM educators in exploration of how learning spaces enable or limit innovative practice. The study of how learning spaces influence instruction has the potential to change future school and classroom design to promote student-centered STEM learning. This group is collaborating around this theme during the 2022-2023 school year.

Goal: To enhance STEM programming through design experiments of learning spaces and innovative practice.

Participating schools are identifying a STEM-related need or problem in one or more areas:

Enabling Active Student-Centered LearningIncreasing Equity & Cultural ResponsivenessEnhancing Safety in STEM Learning

They are then conducting design experiments in their spaces, which could include:

  • Fitting out small group breakout spaces to promote collaborative inquiry
  • Implementing green chemistry to enhance student safety
  • Using technology to engage in STEM learning beyond the school walls
  • Setting up an outdoor learning space to increase authentic contexts and data
  • Swapping desks for mobile lab tables to increase flexibility
  • Identifying place-based learning activities to enrich cultural connections & applications
  • Designing inquiry spaces and activities that disrupt ableism
  • Adjusting STEM area way-finding & ergonomics to increase engagement with materials
  • Modifying the classroom environment to increase student ownership of STEM spaces
  • Introducing digital tools to engage students in making and iterating

Participating educators:

  • Collaborate with peers across schools to generate possible design experiments that involve a STEM learning space and innovative practice
  • Work with their school to set up and try a design experiment
  • Collaborate with peers to reflect on implementation and evaluate impact
  • Share what they have learned

Participating schools:

  • Agree to support participating educators in running a design experiment during SY22-23 involving a STEM learning space and an innovative practice
  • Enable minor modifications to STEM learning spaces. Examples of learning space modifications could include:
    • Changing out, adding, or rearranging furniture (e.g., from classroom desks to mobile tables, addition of a few standing workstations, a small group table in an adjacent space)
    • Minor infrastructure changes (e.g., moving electrical outlets or adding ceiling drops, adding a ventilation duct for digital equipment, adding glass at classroom door to increase visibility to breakout space, removing a fixed demo station)
    • Purchasing minor equipment or materials (e.g., alternatives to gas Bunsen burners, safer alternatives to commonly used chemicals, small digital tools, materials for a new outdoor learning space)
  • Encourage participating educators to share what was learned

STEM Learning Design provides participating educators the following supports:

  • Facilitation of the collaborative group
  • Support for crafting a design experiment that fits your school context that will promote an innovation in the school STEM program
  • Examples and visuals of innovative STEM practices and learning spaces, ideally to include optional site visits
  • A network of STEM peers to collaborate with in a unique PD opportunity

For information about this unique group, please contact:

Jake Foster
STEM Learning Design

Meg Moriarty
MegMor Consulting

Marti Cohn
STEM Educator