Maker-Centered Project-Based Learning in Inclusive Classes: Supporting Students’ Active Participation with Teacher-Directed Reflective Discussions

Kati Sormunen, Kalle Juuti, Jari Lavonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Supporting students’ active participation in maker-centered project-based learning (PBL) can be challenging in inclusive classes. The aim of this study was to support students’ active participation in cooperative team via teacher-directed reflective discussions during an inclusive, maker-centered PBL unit. The study was conducted during the students’ final year of primary school. In the context of 44 students’ inclusive class, the study focused on a team of 11 students (4 girls, 7 boys; aged 12 – 13 years) who worked in pairs and had their own differentiated responsibility areas (e.g. interior designers had interior design and lighting responsibilities) in the construction of a scale-model house. Because students in PBL need support in their learning, reflective discussions were organized after each lesson to ensure students’ participation. Reflective discussions were video recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a content and co-occurrence network analysis. The analysis revealed that teacher-directed reflective discussions first focused on supporting the cooperation of all students and then ensured the continuity of the process with most of the pairs. Some pairs, consisting of students with learning difficulties, needed intensified support until they could actively participate. The results indicate that teacher-directed reflective discussions improve students’ cooperation skills and promote participation. A carefully prepared group composition enables the teacher to give intensified support to those students who need it most. In light of the results, we recommend that teachers focus on group composition when preparing inclusive, maker-centered PBL projects and use reflective discussions during said projects to promote inclusion and support students’ active participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-712
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Cooperation
  • Inclusion
  • Maker-centered learning
  • Participation
  • Project-based learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • Education


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