RIPLeS: Re-Imagining Practice in STEM Learning Spaces

A collaborative PD experience to infuse fresh ideas into your school’s STEM program!

We are looking to engage with a small set of schools with STEM educators interested in exploring how learning spaces enable or limit innovative practices. 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 is a proposal for a new group that will collaborate around this theme during SY22-23. There will be no cost to participate, but also no funding to support participation (if there is interest we will pursue funding). Please let Jake Foster know if this is of interest to your school!

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

Who should participate?

  • Schools seeking to implement an innovative practice to enhance student-centered learning in STEM
  • Schools willing to support participating educators and make minor modifications (see below for examples) to STEM learning spaces (a classroom, lab, makerspace, outdoor space, hallway, etc.)

Interested schools will identify a STEM-related need or problem in one or more areas:

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

Possible design experiments 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 will:

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

What supports will be provided?

  • Facilitation of the collaborative group
  • Support for crafting a design experiment that fits your school context that will promote an innovation in your 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

If this sounds interesting, please contact Jake Foster by June 1, 2022, to learn more. Logistics are not yet defined; details will be worked out to meet the needs of participants. We are first looking to determine potential interest!

Jake Foster
STEM Learning Design

Meg Moriarty
MegMor Consulting

Marti Cohn
STEM Educator