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Mission Possible – Makerspace Nation

What would be possible if you had a $30,000 makerspace available in your school?

The CIA Mission Possible Makerspace Nation wants to answer just that! The mission is to help improve science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education in public schools. This competition awards an educator with $30,000 in equipment to create or update a makerspace with the latest in educational technology.

A primary goal of STEAM education is to prepare students for future careers which will require problem-solving skills, self-exploration, and perseverance. These skills, and many more, can be developed through the use of a makerspace; however, some schools do not have the budget to implement a makerspace. Having $30,000 in makerspace technology and supplies would give a boost any student learning STEAM in today’s world!

We will be awarding a top prize to a deserving educator in Baltimore, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.

This program is made possible through a sponsorship from the Central Intelligence Agency.

In order to develop the skills required for their future careers, students need to engage in hands-on learning. In a makerspace, science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) concepts can be applied to solve problems through the creation of digital and/or physical products, allowing students the opportunity for self-directed exploration and learning. The space is filled with equipment and supplies to facilitate student-led inquiry allowing them to develop and utilize problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Makerspaces can be incorporated into an existing learning environment, in a defined space like a classroom, or have their own space within the school such as in a media center.

How do I qualify?

How do I qualify?

  • Educate 3rd through 10th grade students
  • Work for a public school in Baltimore, Maryland; Richmond, Virginia; or Washington, D.C.
  • Submit a 3-4 minute video creatively illustrating the need and possible uses of a makerspace in their school

A panel of educators and ORISE staff will determine the winning classroom for each city.

Entries will be judged on how well they:

  • Demonstrate or explain the need for a makerspace
  • Demonstrate or explain the possible use of a makerspace
  • Demonstrate overall creativity in the entry
  • Provide an explanation of the teaching philosophy and/or approach that will be used to expand the STEAM learning experience and encourage students to pursue careers in STEAM fields
If you choose to accept this mission:

If you choose to accept this mission:

  • Ensure you are eligible and review the judging criteria above.
  • Talk to your principal about your desire to participate and ask him or her for a letter of support.
  • Talk to your technology coordinator about your desire to participate and ask him or her for a letter of support.
  • Have the people who will be featured in your video complete a media release form online at https://www.orau.org/news/photo-release.html.
  • Check out the CIA’s Spy Kids website https://www.cia.gov/spy-kids/ for cool facts about CIA that could be used in your classroom!
  • Create a video featuring you and/or your students that will impress the panel of judges and earn high marks in the criteria listed above.

Winners of the 2022 competition announced!

Three teachers, one each in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Md., and Richmond, Va., can look forward to helping their students better develop their STEAM (science, technologist, engineering, arts and mathematics) skills thanks to the Central Intelligence Agency. Each teacher was the winner in their city of the CIA Mission Possible Makerspace Nation competition and a $30,000 grand prize with which they can purchase makerspace items for their classrooms.

Washington, D.C.: Lee Wallin, a fifth-grade teacher at Whittier Elementary School

Lee Wallin was awarded a $30,000 grand prize to help with the purchase of makerspace items for her classroom thanks to the CIA Mission Possible Makerspace Nation competition. 

Richmond, Va.: Rhonda Hawley, a K-5 teacher at Linwood Holton Elementary School

Rhonda Hawley, a teacher at Linwood Holton Elementary, was entirely surprised when she was presented with the check in her classroom. Her school principal kept it a secret until the last minute as Hawley jumped in the air out of excitement. View the video and news article at NBC12.

Baltimore, Md.: Scott Hartman, a sixth-grade science teacher at Hamilton Elementary/Middle School

The Central Intelligence Agency awarded $30,000 to Scott Hartman, a sixth-grade science teacher at Hamilton Elementary/Middle School. The money comes from the agency's Mission Possible Makerspace Nation competition to improve science, technology, engineering, art and math education in public school classrooms across the nation. View the video and news article at WBAL-TV.

Watch the 2022 CIA Mission Possible Classroom Makeover, Washington, D.C.

Winner: Lee Wallin, a fifth-grade teacher at Whittier Elementary School

Watch the 2022 CIA Mission Possible Classroom Makeover, Richmond, Va.

Winner: Rhonda Hawley, a K-5 teacher at Linwood Holton Elementary School

Watch the 2022 CIA Mission Possible Classroom Makeover, Baltimore, Md.

Winner: Scott Hartman, a sixth-grade science teacher at Hamilton Elementary/Middle School