Kansas

'Makerspaces' balance, challenge for test-heavy curriculums

  • Fifth grade teacher Suni Haberland provides batteries for a makerspace workstation at Bluejacket Flint Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The "makerspace" movement sweeping through K-12 schools across the United States encourages collaborative, creative, student-driven education. But there are concerns about how already-busy teachers can incorporate a counterpoint to schools' increasingly test-based curriculums and emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic.  (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Fifth grade teacher Suni Haberland provides batteries for a makerspace workstation at Bluejacket Flint Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The "makerspace" movement sweeping through K-12 schools across the United States encourages collaborative, creative, student-driven education. But there are concerns about how already-busy teachers can incorporate a counterpoint to schools' increasingly test-based curriculums and emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)  (The Associated Press)

  • Students work together to assemble a project in the makerspace at Bluejacket Flint Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.  The "makerspace" movement sweeping through K-12 schools across the United States encourages collaborative, creative, student-driven education. But there are concerns about how already-busy teachers can incorporate a counterpoint to schools' increasingly test-based curriculums and emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Students work together to assemble a project in the makerspace at Bluejacket Flint Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The "makerspace" movement sweeping through K-12 schools across the United States encourages collaborative, creative, student-driven education. But there are concerns about how already-busy teachers can incorporate a counterpoint to schools' increasingly test-based curriculums and emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)  (The Associated Press)

  • Michelle Brown works with students in a makerspace at Bluejacket Flint Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.  The "makerspace" movement sweeping through K-12 schools across the United States encourages collaborative, creative, student-driven education. But there are concerns about how already-busy teachers can incorporate a counterpoint to schools' increasingly test-based curriculums and emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic.  (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Michelle Brown works with students in a makerspace at Bluejacket Flint Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The "makerspace" movement sweeping through K-12 schools across the United States encourages collaborative, creative, student-driven education. But there are concerns about how already-busy teachers can incorporate a counterpoint to schools' increasingly test-based curriculums and emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)  (The Associated Press)

Public schools around the country are joining an educational movement that changes how students learn and teachers work.

It's called the "maker movement," which encourages students to direct their own education by tapping their creativity and collaborating with others.

The Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and Liberty, Missouri, school districts are among many that have created "makerspaces." The spaces include a wide range of materials, from 3-D printers to simple building blocks. Students use the materials to solve problems, with teachers watching but not directing the work.

Advocates say the maker movement is a better way for students to learn. But others are worried already-busy teachers will not be able to fit the new makerspace effort into test-based curriculums that need to meet education standards.