Maker studio designed to encourage the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills in children and youth using creative, hands-on learning

The next time you are in Ottawa, be sure to visit ArcelorMittal Canada EXPLORATEK at the Canada Science and Technology Museum—a dedicated space open to creators and tinkerers of all ages to help them build STEM skills.

This space is a multifunctional hub of self-directed and programmed hands-on maker activities, where visitors engage and learn by doing. It is a place where physical materials and digital media resources intersect; encouraging visitors to be curious, creative, experimental and innovative.

The space includes 3D printers, laser-cutters, circuit boards and other tools and is home to a rotating list of exciting events. Recent activities included using circuit blocks to discover how electricity flows and experimenting with switches, LEDs and batteries to build a circuit. In Fly zone, participants experimented with the force of wind by making creations that fly into the air and testing how different shapes, materials and sizes fly when put in a wind tunnel.

“Even though we targeted eight to 12-year-old participants, we’ve seen young participants of toddler age, groups of teenagers, as well as accompanying adults and child all intensively engaged in finding solutions to their challenges,” said Richard Do Couto (Public Affairs).

“One of the best features observed in Exploratek is seeing how willing participants are at making iterations and seeing their solution through. We also saw great communication within a participant’s group or with people unknown to them. They are proud of showing everyone their progress and failures and commenting on the progress of others. Parents and guardians use this opportunity to pass on knowledge or gently test their children’s understanding.”