MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County Public Schools is expanding their partnership with KID Museum to fuel a new curriculum that provides students with greater access to “maker learning.”

“Every single time I bring a new group, I always have kids say ‘I didn’t want to come on the field trip’ — then (later) say ‘I’m glad I came on the field trip,'” said Jo Belyea-Doerrman, a STEM teacher at Shady Grove Middle School.

This new curriculum engages students in maker learning, which is hands-on, project-based learning that integrates robotics, coding, 3D modeling, design, engineering and more.

“It’s really led by the students who really are following your own interests, your own passion, and it builds that sense of agency while you’re developing these technical skills and creative problem-solving skills,” said Cara Lesser, founder and executive director of KID Museum.

Educators say that these skills, such as creative problem solving, will help kids thrive in their future careers.

“I never really built something that would actually work, for me to know that it might work is something that I was looking forward to,” said 7th-grade student Arianna Arthur.

This partnership with MCPS began over 6 years ago and provides the opportunity for students who are from schools with Title I funding, or marginalized communities

“Our thinking is always we want our children to have what every other child has, so this is important because it is an equitable access opportunity for our students,” said Nichelle Owens, acting director of Early Childhood Title I and Recovery.

This hands-on learning is especially important now more than ever to address the learning loss students experienced during the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, students experienced a huge disruption to learning, and so in order to mitigate that disruption to learning, we really need to offer acceleration and enriching learning experiences,” said Rebecca Dougherty, supervisor of Early Childhood Title I and Recovery.

Visit KID Museum’s website to learn more.