Maker spaces

A Tech/Training Thursday Session

What is a maker space?

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Maker space launch

Ms. Welch (with the help of Ms. Bercher) are creating a makerspace to help inspire creativity and innovation for NPE students. Ms. Welch will work with NPE students & teachers to learn how to use and explore with these objects. She will send out a sign up soon. After that, students can come to the media center to explore and teachers can sign up for a lesson (in or out of the classroom) with Ms. Welch.

How can I set up a classroom Maker space?

No need to spend a lot of money...To begin with, stock the space with items that are typically found around the house or school – small and larger boxes, paper towel and toilet paper tubes, egg cartons, masking and duct tape, as well as liquid and stick glue.

If possible, try to include old toys or small electronics to be taken apart or help kids discover how things work. Broken toys can also be supplied for students to repair, furthering their knowledge of how things work.

You can also check out items from our school Maker space.

How do I find the time?

Keep things simple. Create a Maker’s Space as a center. Students could pursue interests and begin a project of their own choosing. For those needing inspiration, use task cards with suggestions.

The maker space could stay "open" all day for students to continue projects when their regular class work is finished. You could choose "open" and "closed" times for your space. Another great time for the space to be open is during days when outdoor recess is impossible. The space could be used as a reward.

How do I ensure my students are learning and not just wasting supplies?

Thinking can be untidy, tinkering can generate clutter, and testing ideas can create a muddle. You do not want your Maker Space to just become a “Let’s Make A Mess and Walk Away” Center.

To help control the consumption of supplies, we strongly suggest that students first create a detailed plan for their project.

Having a detailed, labeled drawing and a list of projected materials provided to the teacher, wasted materials are reduced. This also ensures that the student has carefully thought out, researched, and planned the project.

Ready to go? Maker space to do list...

1. Select an area for your Makerspace. You want room for 3-4 students to work, and a display area for project ideas and a sturdy table.

2. Gather storage containers. We love to shop at hardware stores for ideas. (Did you know you can buy empty paint cans? Those are marvelous for storing various tools.) Shop at the dollar store for assorted bins and baskets that are reasonably priced. Think carefully about where you will store extra supplies. There is nothing quite as exciting as receiving five huge trash bags of recycled items at 8:00 AM and having nowhere to put them except behind, in front, and on top of your desk!

3. Send out a donation letter for items you would like. Letters can not only go to parents and grandparents, but stores and associations and agencies, too. Really search your community for possible connections. Here’s a suggested donation list of STEM essentials.

4. Put donations away as soon as they come in. No excuses. Really. Trust us. Two words: organized chaos!

5. Create a poster with rules for your center. Keep it simple. We suggest: “Plan. Persevere. Put Away.” Hint: Make keeping the Makerspace organized one of your classroom jobs.

6. Create an Open and Closed sign as well as a sign up sheet for the Makerspace.

7. Hang an inventory list nearby so that the students can indicate when certain consumables are beginning to run low.

8. If possible, solicit adult volunteers to be the docents for the Makerspace. This will make your life easier, but is not necessary for a successful Maker Space.

9. Make a wish list for big items such as a 3-D printer or Makey-Makey kit and keep your eyes out for small grants that can help you obtain those items. Have a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” attitude and don’t be afraid to give grants a try for things you would like to add. Grant opportunities are available are here: Get Caught Engineering Facebook page.