STEM enrichment programs have demonstrated positive impacts on young female adolescents’ interest and aptitude in STEM, personal/social-psychological well-being, and educational aspirations. Introducing STEM knowledge and skills in an environment of ‘making,’ that is, in a setting of hands-on activities, may further enhance adolescent girls’ engagement in STEM learning. The maker movement, defined as the convergence of technology and traditional artistry, has generated interest among educators for its potential to nurture STEM learning, including its capacity to engage diverse populations of youths in the making of creative objects through experimentation in science, technology, engineering, and math (i.e., STEM-based making). STEM-based making is a way to support young girls, who often approach making from an esthetic or personal expression perspective, to more fully integrate systems and technologies that advance critical thinking, innovative prototyping, and problem-solving into the making process. Insights are presented as to how STEM-based making designed for young female adolescents—a group that has traditionally had limited access to extracurricular STEM experiences as well as to makerspaces—may foster greater access to, and equity in, STEM learning. The role of universities in facilitating access to and equity in STEM-based making also is addressed.
Part of the book: Theorizing STEM Education in the 21st Century