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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 Chicago, IL, Kansas City, MO/KS and Omaha, NE.

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 12th grade students
  • Work for a school in Chicago, IL, Kansas City, MO/KS and Omaha, NE.
  • 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 2023 competition announced!

Three teachers, one each in Chicago, Il, Kansas City, Mo/Ks and Omaha, Ne, 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.

Chicago, Il: Elizabeth Eaken and Amy Wagner, Northside College Preparatory High School

Elizabeth Eaken and Amy Wagner were 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. 

Omaha, Ne: Susan Young, Pinewood Elementary School

“I think it’s going to give them tons more opportunities to have their hands on the equipment and use things,” Susan Young said. “I love discovery learning. I love it when they can learn for themselves from playing with it and learning from play, because they remember it better.”

Kansas City, Mo: Wesley Bryant, KIPP KC Legacy High School

The Central Intelligence Agency awarded $30,000 to Wesley Bryant. Bryant said he was overwhelmed with joy at the opportunity to provide his students with the space and materials to bring their ideas to life.

Watch the 2023 CIA Mission Possible - Makerspace Nation, Chicago, Il.

Winner: Elizabeth Eaken and Amy Wagner, Northside College Preparatory High School

Watch the 2023 CIA Mission Possible - Makerspace Nation, Omaha, Ne.

Winner: Susan Young, Pinewood Elementary School

Watch the 2023 CIA Mission Possible - Makerspace Nation, Kansas City, Mo

Winner: Wesley Bryant, KIPP KC Legacy High School