“How Can I Build a Model if I Don’t Know the Answer to the Question?”: Developing Student and Teacher Sky Scientist Ontologies Through Making

  • Sandra BeckerEmail author
  • Michele Jacobsen


Makerspaces provide a viable option for constructing and sharing knowledge in schools. Inherent in the designing, tinkering, and playing that learners engage in through making are competencies, such as the ability to create, problem solve, and innovate, decreed as critical by education policymakers. This paper summarizes results from a study in a Canadian elementary school in which a researcher and a sixth grade teacher worked collaboratively to co-design, enact, and reflect on a makerspace project focused on sky science. Results with students showed higher engagement, deeper learning, and a way of being that extended beyond the study of one science topic. Results with the teacher demonstrated changes in pedagogical thinking about learning designs to enhance students’ abilities to develop their own questions, to build models in attempts to answer those questions, and to embody the ontology of a scientist.


Makerspaces Making Science inquiry Nature of science 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the time and commitment of the participating teacher and her students in the study.

Funding information

Sandra Becker was financially supported for her doctoral studies through the Werklund Doctoral Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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