Making a MakerSpace

A 1-stop doc. to get your MakerSpace started - A. Middlemiss

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Table of Contents -

1. Welcome to the Educational Maker Movement

2. What is a MakerSpace?

3. Why the Maker Movement Matters - My Mission

4. What benefits can the MakerSpace provide for my students and school?

5. Pre-Planning your MakerSpace

6. Where can I establish my MakerSpace in my school?

7. How can I build Capacity and Interest for a MakerSpace in my school?

8. MakerSpace Tools and Materials

9. MakerSpace Websites

10. MakerSpace Projects, Units and Lessons

11. MakerSpace Gallery

12. Join the MakerSpace Movement

1 - Welcome to the Educational Maker Movement!

You're here because you are curious about MakerSpaces and educational making. Maybe you have heard the term MakerSpace and want some more information about them. Perhaps you have seen one in action and are looking for resources MakerSpace in your school. You might already be doing some informal maker projects with your class and just want to take it to the next level. You're in the right place then! This resource was designed to address your MakerSpace and making questions. Whatever your starting point is with making, this document is for you.

If you have any questions, click on the e-mail link at the bottom of the page. We will do our best to respond in a timely manner. Happy making, and stay curious!

Aaron Middlemiss - MakerSpace / Maker Movement Innovator

2 - What is a MakerSpace?

In short, a MakerSpace is:

  • A rich, collaborative and creative environment to explore the Maker Movement, where anyone can build just about anything that they want.
  • Can be equipped with a variety of high-tech and low-tech tools and maker solutions. From Legos to Sewing Machines. From 3D Printers to cardboard. If you can get your hands on it, you can use it to make something fun!
  • A place that offers hands-on, practical learning experiences to all students and teachers across a multitude of curriculum, grades and subjects.
  • Where students can choose to explore something they are passionate about on their free time.
  • Where teachers can foster perseverance, well-being, self-advocacy, communication skills, and empowerment, by engaging students in projects and lessons that reflect modern curriculum.
  • Where students can learn about important design principles and cycles; that their project is always being revisited and reworked.

Watch the video below for an in-depth look at a MakerSpace in action.

3 - Why the Maker Movement Matters - My Mission

Right now, making is everywhere. You can find it in every aspect of our students' lives. Whether they are making detailed Minecraft worlds, new clothes for their own personal wardrobe, DIY solutions to everyday problems, or new apps to make their lives more engaging, they are all a part of this movement. Our world is changing; it is starting to place more value on creation and innovation, rather than consumption and consumerism. The maker movement matters, because it can help students find a connection between something they enjoy doing, to something rewarding in the world. Their talents, their ingenuity, their passion, could lead the way to a new discovery or an idea that brings us together as a global community. All it takes is an environment that allows them to explore making the things they love, to try something new, and to see how their creations affect the world around them. Makerspaces are the catalyst that can show our students that their their unique voices and visions really matter.

See a MakerSpace in action by clicking on this link.

4 - What benefits can the MakerSpace provide for my students and school?

MakerSpaces are fun and inviting environments that can provide a variety of benefits to your students and teachers. Watch the videos below for some more insights into what a MakerSpace can offer to your school.
Benefits of Maker Space

Additional Benefits of an Educational MakerSpace.

Click here to read a CBC article about how MakerSpaces impact students.

5 - Preplanning your MakerSpace.

Before you commit to building your MakerSpace, here are some things you can do as the pieces fall into place:

  1. Make the choice to change your mindset. Part of getting you and your school ready for a MakerSpace, is to adopt an innovative mindset. Watch this short video for some ideas on the importance of the innovative mindset in the MakerSpace.
  2. Make a plan to attend any and all forms of MakerSpace PD. Find a conference or webinar that could provide you with ideas and resources. Invite staff and students to attend whenever possible.
  3. Make sure to read about MakerSpaces. Find some blogs and educational articles and get reading. Or, if you prefer the old-fashioned way of gathering information, here is a link to some books on MakerSpaces. Share them with anyone who would be interested in participating in your maker movement. (Here's an additional list of MakerSpace books.)
  4. Make some MakerSpace Connections. Find and connect with MakerSpaces in your community. Many public libraries and post secondary schools have MakerSpaces you can drop in and visit.
  5. Make a Budget. Have a budget ready to go, and do some research on the tools and supplies you might need. Here's a link to a Google Sheet of supplies you can replicate and add to.
  6. Make time to review board policies. Be familiar with any school board policies that could impact your MakerSpace.
  7. Make the students part of the process. Listen to your students for ideas, and invite them to be a part of the design phase of your new MakerSpace right from the start. Their voice is going to drive the MakerSpace forward.

Here is an additional link of things to consider before you make your MakerSpace.

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6 - Where can I establish my MakerSpace in my school?

Now that you are committed to building a MakerSpace in your school, the next question becomes, "Where does it go?" If you wish, a MakerSpace can occupy a full room, or it can be easily modified to accommodate any space you may have readily available. Whatever your school limitations on space might be, here are some ideas to help you find a home for your MakerSpace.

7 - How can I build Capacity and Interest for a MakerSpace in my school?

Now that you have built your MakerSpace, how do you get students and teachers to take advantage of it? Here are a few ideas for you to try out!

  • Informal Drop-In / Open House - Have times where students and teachers can just come to the MakerSpace and try out something fun. No formal lessons required!

  • Quick Challenge Cards - Provide students some laminated cards with MakerSpace activities to challenge their ingenuity. Click here or here for some ideas.

  • After School / Lunch Hour Maker Clubs - Start a club that taps into the students' interest. This is often a common starting point for most MakerSpaces.

  • MakerSpace Challenges, Competitions and Co-Ventures - Organized by teachers, administrators or students, either in school involving one or more classes, or between other schools and districts in the board. The ventures may be competitive (who can build a Lego robot that can lift a 1 kilo weight?) or collaborative.

  • A MakerSpace MakerFaire - During an Open House event, or Parent Teacher Interview night, students can showcase the MakerSpace to friends and family.

  • MakerSpace Student Leaders - Students that assist other students and teachers with a variety of MakerSpace projects. Students can develop helpful resources for students, and teach the staff about the ins-and-outs of the new MakerSpace tools.

  • Field Trips - Students and teachers can regularly tour MakerSpaces found in public libraries, colleges and universities to gather new ideas.

  • Community Involvement - Community members are invited in to teach new maker skills, or students participate in a project that connects to their community or a local/global social justice issue.

  • A Boardwide MakerFaire & Symposium - Once your school has established a MakerSpace and innovative / growth movement among the staff and students, you may wish to explore hosting a MakerFaire & Symposium. This will provide students a chance to demonstrate and showcase their talents, and for educators to build their capacity among other MakerSpace instructors aas they share and collect MakerSpace ideas and resources.

8 - MakerSpace Tools and Materials

Before you go out and buy all the latest gizmos, stop and think about what it is that truly makes a MakerSpace an incubator for innovation.

Is it 3D printers and new computers?

Or is it more about a growth mindset, and what your students are interested in or passionate about?

So don't rush out and grab those robotics kits if your students aren't even going to pick them up. Don't be afraid to start small. Some of the best ideas happen with needle and thread, cardboard and tape, or aluminum foil and AA batteries. Give them an idea, and see what they can make with what they have. Once the students are off and running, then start to explore more making options.

Questions to Ask (Before you buy...)

  • Would my students be interested in this <insert MakerSpace tool here>?
  • Do we already have some MakerSpace tools and resources on hand?
  • Does anyone in my school board have MakerSpace tools I can borrow?
  • Does my school board have MakerSpace supplies on hand already?
  • Does my school board permit me to raise additional funds or accept donated materials for my MakerSpace?
  • Am I going to need other accessories or resources to use this new tool?
  • Are there any companies I can reach out to for equipment and supply donations?
  • Are there any grants or board funds I can access for an innovation project?
  • How much of the stuff that I want in my MakerSpace do I actually have to buy?

If you can answer even one of those questions, you're going to save some time and money. You might even make some contacts and start building your own MakerSpace network as a result.

For those that want to do a little shopping (or just to see some of the possible things you should be stocking in your MakerSpace) check out our MakerSpace Supply List.

9 - MakerSpace Websites

Looking for more information about MakerSpaces and the maker movement? Here are a few links to some well known MakerSpace websites.

Make: - A webzine all about the maker movement

MakerEd - Educational MakerSpace Website - All about Makerspaces!

More links coming soon!

11 - MakerSpace Gallery

12 - Join the MakerSpace Network!

Sign-up and register to be a part of the movement. We will e-mail you regularly with new resources, event details and other tools to bring your MakerSpace to life!

A little bit about me...

I'm a MakerSpace Innovator - TELT Contact - Tech Coach - Secondary English/Drama Teacher - Writer - Gamer - Zombie/SuperHero/Pop Culture Geek - Occasional Podcaster - Dad - Home Cook // Check out my profile for even more #makerspace resources!