Asee peer logo

Implementation of a Mobile Makerspace in a K-8 School (Work in Progress)

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division Poster Session: Works in Progress

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Brian Patrick O'Connell Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach

visit author page

Brian O’Connell received his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2006. He then worked for Kollmorgen Electro/Optical as a mechanical engineer developing periscopes and optrontic masts. In 2011, he returned to academia to pursue his Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. He aspires to become a professor of mechanical engineering after graduation focusing his research in engineering design, educational technologies, and engineering education.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This paper describes a work in progress maker cart being developed for participant support as part of [Blinded Research Project]. This project provides an approach for teachers to more easily integrate engineering into their curriculum. In this program, students develop functional solutions to problems they’ve identified from various literary sources and then develop their own solutions for, typically using found materials (cardboard, string, duct tape, craft sticks, etc) and associated tools for their construction. There have been issues in the past where the use of such materials is believed to enable students into thinking that a diorama or other such arts and craft model is an acceptable product rather than a functional solution to the problem since that is what those tools and materials are commonly used for. A recent opportunity to develop a solution to this issue came about while engaging in a larger scale implementation of [Blinded Research Project] at a local K-8 urban school. Their administration has contracted school wide professional developments and encouraged their entire staff to make use of this approach in their classrooms but had similar concerns about tools and materials. They have an interest in creating a makerspace to accommodate this increase in engineering activities and consulted with our research group to develop it as part of our implementation. Since dedicated space was not yet available and to provide teachers the tools and materials they need on hand for these activities until a makerspace is created, we developed a mobile solution to the problem by creating a makerspace cart that teachers can roll into their classroom. This cart provides tools and materials that students likely have no counterproductive associations with and the design of the cart encourages thoughtful use of those items. This cart was introduced into the school in January 2016. As a work in progress, conclusive data is not yet available.

O'Connell, B. P. (2016, June), Implementation of a Mobile Makerspace in a K-8 School (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25577

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015