A spinoff of the Maker Faire movement, makerspaces are learning environments with tools that offer opportunities to create, learn, play, and invent. Spaces may run the gamut of non-profit, community spaces where people learn trades, to classrooms where project-based learning takes place. Many school libraries are currently being reconfigured to include areas that expose students to maker projects. Every makerspace is different because needs can be so different. Here are some ideas for getting on board with the the maker space movement.
- One of our favorite websites for learning about all types of makerspaces offers a free “playbook” for getting your own space up and running. It’s a comprehensive guide and covers aspects such as what to put in your space, safety rules, and other helpful resources. You will also find photos and templates from maker spaces around the country to help you make decisions about your makerspace.
- School-based makerspaces are a fairly new concept for students and families. A resource we like (and it’s free on Amazon for Kindle) is Roselund and Rodgers’ Makerspaces, a great book for introducing your 4th grade and above students to the concept, content, and use of makerspaces.
- Want some additional tips for starting your own? Check out Colleen Graves’ article, Starting a School Makerspace From Scratch.
- Jen Walsh has put together 103 ideas on her Pinterest page for projects, challenges, and makerspace projects. We liked the design cycle she features as well.
- The design thinking process is certainly a great takeaway from the makerspace environment. keslerscience.com offers an awesome blog on the shift from making in the makerspace to becoming a maker outside the space.
Elementary teachers may want to get students involved in the makerspace mindset but have no formal space designated in the school. A corner of a classroom can certainly suffice. Supplies could be center-based or included in a content rotation. Makerspaces and students are a natural combination. Be sure to make your materials needs known to parents and PTOs. With access to an array of materials, students may create something unique that has never been seen before.
Secondary teachers may want to meet with technical skills teachers to discuss goals and needs. School-to-community connections may be possible by offering maker nights that allow community members to work with teachers, students or on their own to develop new skills. If your building currently utilizes family math or literacy nights, how might making incorporate those contents?
Everyone has the potential to be a maker. Hopefully these ideas will give you inspiration and you will share your maker spaces with us! We would love to feature photos of your makerspaces in future blogs!