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Mutku Maker Space

How can you support design learning through a space and activities?

The innovation transforms a school space into an environment that supports creative thinking and brainstorming. The space plays a part in design education, as well. Mutku Maker Space provides a creative learning lab where students can learn about the design process in imaginative ways.

Finland 100


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100






March 2017
Every day is like a Pop Up school day at the Mutku Maker Space.

About the innovation

What is it all about?

Today, schools face a challenge: teaching more cross-curricular modules and phenomena and posing students questions without clear answers. We must answer this challenge with practical tools and facilities supporting creative instruction that motivates students to participate.

Maker culture highlights collaboration and learning by experimenting. It mixes practice and theory to produce playful and curiosity-inducing ways to study the variety of phenomena in the world.

Mutku Maker Space at Arabia comprehensive school in Helsinki expands the traditional technology-based maker culture to include traditional craftsmanship as well as creative problem-solving and learning about the design process. The spirit of experimentation allows children to learn from their mistakes together and have successes as well as eureka moments.

Mutku Maker Space is a creative lab and a teaching space built inside the school. There children learn about design and the different steps of the design process by doing. This space for creative learning allows students to innovate at their own skill level and solve challenges that they face everyday.

The space is especially suited to kickstart a creative process and move through it step by step. First, observing it, brainstorming and experimenting, and finally sharing the idea and developing it further. The students can work on their projects during other lessons and in other spaces at school, as well.

Mutku Maker Space is built to fit the resources available in the school through workshops and participation from the whole school. This allows every creative learning lab to be unique and fit the school.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


The space provides an excellent environment for phenomenon-based, collaborative learning.


Providing tools for students to be creative and solve problems in an environment set for curiosity.


You can tailor the space to fit your school environment.


Implementation steps

Getting to know the model
These steps introduce the Mutku Maker Space model. Together, you can think how they could be introduced to your school.

Mutku Maker Space is built and implemented considering the needs and resources of your school. Every space is therefore unique and does not require a specific size. You can implement some of the the activities and design education into other school spaces or your own classroom.

With the teachers, discuss the opportunities the Mutku Maker Space brings and how you'll divide the responsibilities. If necessary, contact SuoMu, the Finnish Association of Design Learning for collaboration or design help on the space:

Brainstorming workshop with the students
Hold a brainstorming workshop for the students on the implementation and use of the Mutku Maker Space.

Students can answer these questions, for example:

  • What are my dreams?

  • What problem do I want to solve?

  • What can I make better? What innovation can I create?

  • What can I do myself or what do I want to do myself? What do I want to design?

  • What can I teach others?

  • What kind of place is comfortable and exciting to me?

  • What supplies and machines do I want to use?

  • What makes a comfortable and exciting work space?

  • Would I rather work alone or in a group? Or independently or under guidance?

Collect the students' comments and opinions for further planning work.

Case Arabia

The school held a workshop for the students about the use of the shared Maker Space. At the workshop, the students got to brainstorm using various methods including a graffiti mural. They answered questions such as: what type of space would inspire them to learn; what they would like to teach others; what problems they would like to solve; and what type of tools they would like to use? The ideas were written down on a big roll of paper, as well. The results were collected and photographed so the teachers could use them in the future.

Building a development team and sharing responsibilities
Appoint a development team of teachers to work on the makerspace. Use the school's existing knowhow on art and physical education by including these teachers in your team.

The development team is responsible for:

  • Organizing the planning of the space. Planning the student workshops and coordinating collaborations with external partners.

  • Furnishing the space. Planning and acquiring furnishings. You should also consider acquiring used furniture.

  • Acquiring the equipment. Acquiring the tools, equipment, supplies and materials.

  • Developing and piloting activities for the space. Drawing guidelines for the space's use during lessons, recess or after-school clubs. Training potential outside workshop leaders and coordinating the use of the space.

  • The maintenance. Placing supply orders, organizing clean-up, informing, maintaining the equipment as well as writing and updating manuals in the space.

The team should hold weekly meetings to assess their progress, review potential improvement requests and activity experiments. The focus should be on experimenting boldly and recognizing what works in your school and going forward with these methods.

Case Arabia

The teachers on the development team were responsible for establishing the space and planning its activities. The team included mainly crafts and visual arts teachers and focused on improving design learning at Arabia comprehensive school.

The development work at the school is divided between the partnering SuoMu, the Finnish Association of Design Learning and the development team. SuoMu is responsible for content production concerning visualizing design thinking and material experiments. The development team, on the other hand, oversees building workshops for students as well as the maintenance and development of the space on the school-level.

Designing the space and activities and how to implement them
Hold a meeting for the development team after the brainstorming workshop for students. Discuss the students' ideas and choose a concept you will implement. Then you can assign more specific responsibilities and make a timetable for the tasks.Case Arabia

The school began designing the space in student workshops at SuoMu, the Finnish Association of Design Learning using the methods of service design. The development team launched a design team under its umbrella. It was responsible for further development and dividing responsibilities between students and the development team.

The space was built during the design team's lessons (visual arts, crafts). The students were from grades 2–9. The workshops included mascot design, painting the walls, revamping the furniture and improving the exhibition spaces.

The design team is responsible for developing activities in the future with SuoMu's help.

Opening the space and experimenting
Once you finish the space, host an opening where you can explain the building process and how the space will be used by the whole school community.

It is imperative that you express that the next phase in the use and improvement of the space will be marked by continual change. The space will experiment with different activities, including workshops, after-school clubs and lessons. The space should be improved further.

Case Arabia

The school hosted an opening for the Mutku Maker Space in September 2017 during Helsinki Design Week. It included different workshops for students, such as working with a green screen, tape graffiti and making reflectors. Teachers got to participate in workshops on the design path, green screens, 3D printing and visualizing data.

The Mutku Maker Space at Arabia comprehensive school holds traditional lessons, as well. For example, health education, English, physics and music benefit from the space. Mutku also holds an optional module focusing on the STEAM approach. This brings many activities into the space but also challenges its design.

In the future, the school plans to experiment with maker recess and after-school clubs. In addition, people are encouraged to start and develop their design processes for the school and classrooms in the Mutku Maker Space and use the design visualizing walls.

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