The Maker Movement’s current traction in education revolves around the notion that constructing artifacts improves student interest and engagement. Often touted as a new and important way for students to access STEM content, “making” activities offer a unique opportunity to disrupt the traditional perceptions of who can successfully “do” STEM. Blending familiar materials and practices (e.g. sewing with a needle and thread) with atypical materials (e.g., conductive thread and sewable LED bulbs), electronic textiles, or e-textiles, allow makers to create working circuits in ways that connect with their out-of-school lives, including heritage and vernacular cultural practices. This article describes the experiences of one student and one teacher as they explored e-textiles for the first time in their respective roles. Our student, a thirteen year-old Native American girl, reported a sense of empowerment and newfound engagement with science; she shares the ways in which she was able to incorporate multiple aspects of her identity into her project. On the other side of the experience, we examine the ways in which our teacher’s ideas and conceptions of the abilities of his ELLs shifted as he taught science using e-textiles. Our discussion highlights the importance of these self and other conceptual changes as a mechanism for broadening participation in STEM learning.



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