Eagle's Eye

The KCDS Makerspace Special Edition

Did you hear the latest news? We have opened our makerspace, The Exploratory Lab!

Kalamazoo Country Day School is so excited to announce that we have opened our makerspace, The Exploratory Lab, which is a space where students can go to explore all possibilities, expand their horizons, and excel at leading the way. This is a project that will grow and expand as the year progresses.

To start, our makerspace will be in former third grade room. By next summer, we will be phasing the entire makerspace over to the library space. The library books will be leveled and some of them will move into the classroom libraries, while the rest will move to the new library space. (Any parents who would like to help sort and level the library books, should contact Dianne Tansey or Angela Kava.)

We will be inviting the middle school students to Design Think the new space with Mrs. Kava and Mr. McKinney, design workspaces, and even build them! We are very excited about this addition to our wonderful school!

What can your student do in our makerspace?

A makerspace is a place where students can use and learn skills of the 21st Century. Students will be able to tinker, build, create, imagine, and learn from their mistakes. Giving our students design challenges and curriculum-guided STEAM projects will encourage our students to become makers, thinkers, collaborators, and problem-solvers for the future. These experiences will build their creative confidence and foster a lifelong love for learning.

All students at Kalamazoo Country Day School will benefit from the new makerspace. I will be working with teachers in grades SK-8th to integrate STEAM and Design Thinking projects that align with their curriculum. Our 3rd and 4th graders will continue Genius Hour as they have in the past, but will now be able to take full advantage of the makerspace. The middle school students will be doing 20% Time (Genius Hour for older students) every other Friday afternoon opposite of community service.

For those unfamiliar with this concept, Genius Hour/20% Time is an hour of time each week for students to learn about something that interests them, design a project or product, and then present findings to the class. As I mentioned above, middle school students who are interested, will also be able to join the Makerspace Design Team. We have had great success in third-fifth grades over the last couple years with Genius Hour, and we want to expand this experience to our older students.

Our youngest students in preschool and JK will have designated mini visits to the makerspace to build, tinker, and work with the iPads and robots in small groups.

Getting Started...

We have been preparing the space for the amazing explorations ahead, but starting a makerspace means we need a lot of "stuff" that students can use to tinker, build, and grow their creative confidence. Much of the stuff is recyclables, craft materials, tools, and electronics. While we have acquired quite an array of tech materials over the last school year, there are still a few things that are "must haves" in a makerspace that we would love to have donated, as well. Please take a look at the list below and decide how you can help make our makerspace great!

Donations (new, used, or collected) can be dropped off at the makerspace or school office.

  • toilet paper/paper towel rolls (tubes)
  • any small, clean recyclable aluminum cans
  • reusable plastic containers/bottles
  • shredded paper, tissue paper, newspaper
  • plastic cups, spoons, straws, coffee stirrers, condiment cups
  • yarn, string, beading wire
  • craft sticks, pipe cleaners, toothpicks
  • fabric, felt, stuffing, thread, needles
  • mini hot glue sticks, mini hot glue guns, cool touch glue guns
  • beads, buttons, glitter, sequins, pom poms, foam letters and shapes
  • cotton balls, cotton swabs
  • foil, wax paper, parchment, or sand paper
  • magnetic tape and velcro rolls
  • duct tape (all colors and patterns), scotch tape, electrical tape, masking tape, painter's tape
  • index cards, rubber bands, brads
  • Legos, K'nex, Lincoln Logs or other used building toys
  • new/used tools and power tools
  • any craft or art supplies
  • construction paper, other types of paper
  • "How To" books
  • *gift cards to hardware or craft stores

"Must Have" Wish List:

  • alligator clips
  • small motors
  • wires
  • conductive thread and ink
  • batteries: button batteries, 1.5V
  • Mini light bulbs
  • *Mr. McGroovy's Box Rivets for constructing with cardboard (online)
  • *Squishy Circuits Kit (online)
  • *Little Bits Steam Student Sets (online)