Think for a moment: In what part of your school building are children most engaged and actively initiating their own learning? What is it about this space that cultivates curiosity and is trademarked by innovation?
What if there was a space designed to allow for students to make, invent, reinvent, hack, design, create, manufacture, develop, collaborate, produce, construct, and tinker? This is known as a makerspace. “Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors, and expertise. A collection of tools doesn’t define the space; rather, we define it by what it enables: making.” It is through this ‘experimental play’ students develop and deepen critical thinking skills, and more importantly that failure is the pathway to success. So, what does it take to start a makerspace? The answer is simple: stuff and a few safety guidelines.
What I learned about hosting a makerspace teacher expo:
- Communicating an idea of reuse, repurpose, recycle in contrast to waste is key
- Clearly identifying safety guidelines (example: don’t mess with the capacitors)
- Students love to learn and are innately curious when given freedom to explore
- Teachers love to play just as much as students
- There is something powerful in tying skills and disciplines together to achieve a goal
- Food is universal
A few of the stations that were available included: making omelets in a ziploc bag with choice toppings, a table with random scrap electronics, a makey-makey, random objects with objective of building an extreme nanobot obstacle course, a box of kinects, a lego car parts, a bunch of circuits, a sewing machine, and an EV3 robot.
For more information on how to set-up a Makerspace, check out the following resources:
Submitted by Jessica Luby, Instructional Assistant Principal – Newton-Conover High School and Newton-Conover Middle School