Well, it’s February and we are halfway through our school year. The more we work on it, the more apparent it becomes that the fab lab will always be a work in progress, which is really as it should be. School makerspaces promote belief in the idea that the process is just as (if not more) important as the product. Guided by questions, unknown outcomes, learning by doing; this is what makerspaces are all about. And we are doing it.
- Students are in the fab lab every day.
- Tinker Time is their recess choice. Second and third graders come to light things up and drive the adults crazy with buzzer sounds using the littleBits. Wood scraps are hot glued together to create various structures. A “Marble Run City” is collaboratively built by students in Grades 2-5. Pacman is played via a Makey Makey banana mouse. The Lego wall is built up, broken down, repeat.
- Librarian and Author Megan Blakemore hosts classes for book talks, mystery Skypes, and curriculum explorations.
- Student leadership teams engage in collaborative team building activities.
- Learning buddy partnerships allow younger students to learn about the space and resources with older peers.
- Upcoming workshop opportunities:
- Students will use the design process to create their own superhero action figures that will be materialized on the 3D printer.
- Students will create a Scratch game that will be operated using the Makey Makey.
- Students will learn shop safety from a fabulous fourth grade teacher maker.
- Teacher access to the fab lab is increasing.
- Staff meeting time is held in the makerspace. Each staff meeting involve some discussion and/or exploration of the work that we are doing to promote creativity and innovation throughout the school.
- Genius hours outside of the school day provide staff with opportunities to learn about technology available in the space, or to share their own creative interests.
- Classes schedule times in the fab lab. These times allow students to learn about the tools and/or support project work.
- Community participation in the fab lab is growing.
- Our PTA supports our efforts toward innovation, sharing needs with the school community and funding enrichment opportunities.
- A letter to the editor in a local paper has resulted in the donation of many Legos. Rolls of vinyl, batteries, lumber and miscellaneous recycled items have been contributed by community members.
- A painter and chef/cookbook author have been our Visting Makers to date. Upcoming presenters include a children’s book author, a carpenter, a Ukranian egg maker, a quilter, and a graphic novelist.
We celebrate our successes with tribute to the mistakes made and questions unanswered. We have a lot to learn. Isn’t this what schools are all about?