“Making” science relevant for the 21st Century: Early lessons from a research-practice partnership

Cheri Fancsali, Zitsi Mirakhur, Sarah Klevan, Edgar Rivera-Cash

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The Maker Partnership Program (MPP) is an NSF-supported project that addresses the critical need for models of professional development (PD) and support that help elementary-level science teachers integrate computer science and computational thinking (CS and CT1) into their classroom practices. The MPP aims to foster integration of these disciplines through maker pedagogy and curriculum. The MPP was designed as a research-practice partnership that allows researchers and practitioners to collaborate and iteratively design, implement and test the PD and curriculum. This paper describes the key elements of the MPP and early findings from surveys of teachers and students participating in the program. Our research focuses on learning how to develop teachers’ capacity to integrate CS and CT into elementary-level science instruction; understanding whether and how this integrated instruction promotes deeper student learning of science, CS and CT, as well as interest and engagement in these subjects; and exploring how the model may need to be adapted to fit local contexts. Participating teachers reported gaining knowledge and confidence for implementing the maker curriculum through the PDs. They anticipated that the greatest implementation challenges would be lack of preparation time, inaccessible computer hardware, lack of administrative support, and a lack of CS knowledge. Student survey results show that most participants were interested in CS and science at the beginning of the program. Student responses to questions about their disposition toward collaboration and persistence suggest some room for growth. Student responses to questions about who does CS are consistent with prevalent gender stereotypes (e.g., boys are naturally better than girls at computer programming), particularly among boys.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of FabLearn 2019 - 8th Annual Conference on Maker Education
Subtitle of host publicationWhat Role does Maker Education Play in a World with Growing Social and
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781450362443
StatePublished - Mar 9 2019
EventFabLearn 2019 - 8th Annual Conference on Maker Education, FL 2019 - New York, United States
Duration: Mar 9 2019Mar 10 2019

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


ConferenceFabLearn 2019 - 8th Annual Conference on Maker Education, FL 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Copyright is held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to


  • Computer science integration
  • Maker learning
  • Maker research and evaluation
  • Research-practice partnerships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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