Making the Most of Makerspaces: Teachers Explore Practical Ways to Bring the Maker Movement to Life in Their Classrooms
What makes a Makerspace? Makerspaces are creative, do-it-yourself spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. Makerspaces and the idea of such exploration stations in schools are popping up throughout the region. After attending the Model Schools Conference in Atlanta, Georgia at the close of the 2014-2015 school year, many teachers throughout the region have been inspired by the Maker Movement, seeking to bring such ideals of creativity and innovation into their classrooms and schools.
One such school is Olean, who has a pair of second grade teachers kicking off a space in their own classroom with the hope of extending it to the whole of East View Elementary teachers and students. While the ideas are very much in the evolution phase, they are reaching out to learn all the resources that can bring their makerspace to life. The students started off with an exploration of robotics, where students are interacting with bee bots and learning directionality as an initial understanding of computer programming and coding.
Prior to the start of the ’15-’16 school year, Laurie Bushnell and Tracy Keller of Olean fame joined with CABOCES to explore practical resources for making the most of their maker space. In tinkering with duct tape, and in playing with straws and marshmallows, they saw the practical use of household materials as the starting point for making in the classroom. From there, they explored Cubelets, Bee Bots, Makey-Makeys, and more. .
Who has the time? Makerspaces seem like they could just be another thing to add on to the plates of our teachers, but they can be innovative spaces open before or after school, or used in special areas for extended learning opportunities. Despite when or where they may be created or used, they are popping up all over the region.
Looking for more information? Consult some of the following resources to get some ideas as to how you can work to develop a makerspace in your school:
By: Lauren Stuff, CA BOCES