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Having a makerspace in a classroom is a fast growing trend in education.

The spaces offer materials and room for students to have hands-on opportunities with design, experimentation, and construction.

Cheryl Nelson is a long time teacher out of Northern Virginia and is a believer in a curriculum that involves hands-on activity.

Nelson says she had one child that struggled academically but when he had an opportunity to work in the makerspace he flourished.

He and some classmates built a car that was “amazing” says Nelson. When they presented the car, his teammates acknowledged that the struggling child had been the force behind the design and creation of the project.

“The kids were in awe. And his teammates even said that this child was a genius,” said Nelson. “I will tell you that this child operated at least two or three grade levels below his classmates. And I’m sure it was probably the first time in his life that he had been acknowledged by his peers as somebody who was a genius.”

Nelson says she remembered calling his mom after school to tell her. “And she just burst into tears, because his education was just a real struggle.”

Nelson and her colleague Wendy Goldfein, created a blog called Get Caught Engineering. It’s resource site to help teachers and parents connect “classroom learning” with real-life applications in STEM.

Hear our full discussion with Nelson on Episode 20 of Class Dismissed.

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