Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education



First Advisor

Heather Benedict




This action research project has studied the effects of implementing Agency by Design thinking routines and makerspaces on the development of student agency. The study was conducted in two upper-elementary school classrooms: one fifth-grade suburban classroom in Florida, and one fourth- and fifth-grade rural, gifted and talented classroom in Minnesota. During the study, researchers collected baseline data from a pre-assessment related to student perceptions around their own sense of agency and sensitivity to design. This data was compared to the post-assessment data that was collected using the same survey at the end of the project. Throughout the study, students used sketchbooks to engage in the thinking routines of looking closely, exploring complexity, and finding opportunity. They then used their sketchbooks as inspiration as they participated in four separate makerspace experiences. After each makerspace experience, students assessed their projects for elements that would indicate that agency was present in their product. The compiled and coded data indicated that there was not a strong correlation between the implementation of the thinking routines and makerspace opportunities on the development of student agency. However, positive outcomes were present, and recommendations were made accordingly.

Included in

Education Commons