FUSE Studios Expands to Southern California

FUSE Studios Expands to Southern California

Two girls participating in the FUSE programStudents in underserved elementary schools in Southern California will have access to Northwestern University’s FUSE Studios program this fall, thanks in part to a $150,000 grant from the Mazda Foundation.

FUSE, an educational program developed by Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP), brings interactive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) learning to upper elementary, middle, and high school students. 

“The heart of the FUSE experience is student choice,” said Reed Stevens, FUSE founder, principal investigator of three National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to FUSE, and a professor of learning sciences at SESP.  “As with all FUSE studios, students will receive access to a diverse suite of challenges designed to ignite creativity, collaboration, and discovery through activities you don’t typically see in a classroom setting.”

The award, which also includes equipment, materials, implementation support, and training for educators, will support the Fall 2021 launch of FUSE Studios in 10 elementary schools in L.A. Unified School District and three school districts across Orange County.

Additionally, the Mazda Foundation and volunteers from Mazda North American operations are working with the FUSE Studios team to develop a new challenge for students that embodies the Mazda design philosophy.

FUSE educators facilitate hands-on learning in specially equipped design studios, helping students develop skills for changing world. Students work alone and in groups to build robots, design homes using professional software, and craft items of their own design using 3-D printers.

FUSE program researchers are studying these learning phenomena through support from the NSF. Their research indicates that when students work together on challenges, they learn from and with each other, Stevens said.

“Students develop new skills and dispositions like problem solving, creativity, persistence, and collaboration, and perhaps mostly importantly, they are developing new interests that can carry them into future pursuits,” he said.

 In 2021, FUSE will expand to 241 schools across the United States, reaching more than 45,000 students. 

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 6/29/21