The maker movement is impacting formal and non-formal education all over the world. Makerspaces are playing a critical role in supporting STEM education by providing opportunities for young learners to gather and share experiences, refine their understanding, and build creative artifacts. In Egypt, the formal education system is heavily focused on rote learning, where concepts are introduced in isolation and detachment from their real-world contexts. A design-based approach is proposed as an alternative, where makerspaces serve as stimulating environments that could potentially support concept learning in STEM. However, there is gab in our understanding of how learning STEM concepts can be scaffolded in a design-based learning experience in a makerspace environment. This research aimed towards exploring the dynamics of concept learning in a makerspace educational program for young learners, by adopting the design thinking process as a framework for structuring the learning experience. Methodologically, the study followed a design-based research (DBR) using a qualitative approach. The DBR process started with designing an educational program, followed with implementation, where data was collected through: audio and video recording, interviews, and observations, and finally thematic analysis took place to draw conclusions and come up with a set of design principles for educational programs in makerspaces with the aim of scaffolding concepts in STEM. Findings of this research sheds the light on the rich and complex interaction between problem solving and concept learning processes in a makerspace learning environment, with a noticeable impact of user-centered design, as well as, makerspace tools and objects on learning STEM concepts and ideas. The study also suggests potential improvements of educational program design so that it would better scaffold STEM concepts in makerspaces.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


International & Comparative Education Department

Degree Name

MA in International & Comparative Education

Graduation Date

Spring 5-31-2020

Submission Date


First Advisor

El-Deghaidy, Heba

Committee Member 1

Wolsey, Thomas

Committee Member 2

Osman, Gihan



Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Heba EL-Deghaidy for the continuous support and guidance throughout this research. I am also grateful for the efforts of Dr. Gihan Osman and Dr. Thomas Wolsey who provided valuable comments and feedback which undoubtedly enhanced the quality and rigor of this research. I would also like thank my dearest friends Yomna Saleh, Mohamed Soliman, and Ahmad Saeed for providing their time and effort during the design and implementation phases of this research project. I would like to express my gratitude to the partner organizations: San3a Tech, the parent company of Fab Lab Egypt, for believing in the value and potential impact of this research project and putting in the resources for its implementation, Scienup, for playing a pivotal role in facilitating a mind-shifting design thinking experience for young learners, the Egyptian Academy for Human Development, for providing venue and access for implementation, and Fabri Gate, for providing on-site 3D printing service and technical support. Without partners’ generous support, this research would have not been possible. I would like also to thank many individuals who played pivotal roles throughout the planning and implementation processes: Dr. Fady Michel, Wasiem Ahmad, Maie ElMahdy, Abdullah Essam, Hassan Ashraf, and Abdel Rahman Abdelrazek. Finally, I would like to thank my dear parents who provided me with overwhelming love and support throughout my entire life.