If you’ve been to the second floor at the Lower School lately, you’ve probably noticed a transformation across from the elevators. What was once our Materials Center has evolved into a MakerSpace – but what is a MakerSpace, anyways?
Most simply, a MakerSpace is a place for making – making signs and posters, making models, making computer programs, making machines, making robots, making things out of Legos, cardboard, circuits, fabric, paper, recycled materials and more. It augments the Materials Center with additional tools, technology and ample space to work and create. It is a place for teachers to prepare for lessons, students to complete projects, and someday soon for families to explore making together. Here is a sampling of projects already underway in the MakerSpace:
Our MakerSpace began with a student committee. 3-5th graders were invited to submit essays explaining why they would like to be part of a planning committee. The resulting group then met at lunch to set ground rules, share ideas, look at other MakerSpaces, and decide what we wanted to request for donations and how to spend our initial budget. They also worked before school to create a sign and set up the MakerSpace itself.
One of the first classes to formally visit the MakerSpace was Kindergarten. They are creating a “Dream School”, taking what they have learned in their school study and designing an imaginary school of their own. They explore materials, carefully choosing flooring, painting the walls a chosen color, and modeling furniture and materials for each room.
Sometimes students “shop” for materials in the MakerSpace and complete their work in other places. Here, Grade 2 students pick out items to create a habitat for an animal they are researching. Back in the classroom, they use these materials to create a model habitat.
Grade 5 students are creating irrigation machines, after studying irrigation in ancient civilizations. This project began in the classroom, learning about the six simple machines and exhaustive planning to create their own irrigation system. Plans in hand, they will now work in the MakerSpace with materials easily available to complete their project.
We look forward to other projects soon – all grades will visit the MakerSpace, and we will make time for family projects as well. Stay tuned for more, and never stop creating!