Date of Graduation

Fall 12-14-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International and Multicultural Education (IME)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Rosa Jimenez


Since the early 2000s constructionist pedagogy has become an increasingly popular trend in both formal and informal science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) learning environments to support transformative educational outcomes through the making of personally meaningful objects and artifacts. But with this rise in popularity comes a challenge for educators: understanding what are the teaching practices that are most effective in a maker-centered learning environment to support student learning. Through an ethnographic case study of the teaching practices in a tinkering afterschool program, this study examines the core pedagogical facilitation moves of tinkering educators and investigates how those moves support student learning. Analysis and reflection on the dataset shows that tinkering educators’ pedagogical practices strongly support student engagement with real tools and materials, collaboration with fellow youth and adult facilitators, and development of self-confidence. The specific teaching practices can be organized into a pedagogical framework I have developed, and fall into three main categories: 1) invitations to participate, 2) investigations into phenomena, and 3) introspection on process. The study concludes that open-ended questions throughout the building process and the development of a rich and supportive intellectual environment are major factors in youth learning through tinkering.