Makerspace: What is it?

There has been a trend that employers have shared about new hires; their new recruits have difficulties critically thinking, problem solving, and collaborating. Yikes! As an educator, I have noticed similarities in my students. In a world of instant gratification of Amazon same-day shipping, Alexa informing about movie times, and technology so accessible we panic when it’s not immediately near us ( πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈGuilty), these tools help ease the cognitive overload of our everyday lives. However, if the resources available to us have changed, why hasn’t the way we approach teaching?

A Makerspace is a flexible learning environment where users have the opportunity for choice when problem solving, creating, and innovating a solution.

I know you’re probably thinking “Wow, Amanda this is vague”, or “Cool, I’m reading this informative blog post and I’m still not informed!” πŸ˜‘ Purposefully stated, each Makerspace is unique to their audience’s needs and interests, therefore, your definition will be your own. My example is my own!

About us: Elementary School with approximately 900 students from pre-k through grade 5. 66% of our students are economically disadvantaged, 72% of our students are non-white, and we are currently graded a C.

During a classroom culture study these flag represented some of my students birth countries!

My principal and I are huge proponents of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, and as local STEM Innovation Hub School βš™οΈ, we knew we had to make this a priority for supporting students interests, standard-based instruction, as well as enriching the classroom learning experiences. I immediately knew a Makerspace would be a part of our solution. In preparation, I knew we had to plan and implement this space where students could innovate, create, and make, and fortunately, after presenting my framework for supporting STEM in the Makerspace my administration was completely onboard.

I will write more about my planning phases, orientation, set up, and implementation in later posts… coming soon!

HGE Makerspace is a flexible learning environment where students engage, collaborate, communicate, and critically think about rigorous, open-ended, standard-aligned engineering design challenges.

Create.🎨 Innovate.🀝 Make.πŸ”¨

These are our core principles! I maintain the Makerspace and create monthly standard aligned engineering design challenges for each grade level, but classes have the flexibility to come into the Makerspace and create, innovate, and make anything utilizing the supplies and space in their own unique ways.

The journey began as an empty classroom- next door to mine for easier maintenance. Before school let out for summer, we put a bug in our colleague’s ears about collecting recyclables during the summer for this thing called a Makerspace. Upon arriving back in August, our hearts were overwhelmed with happiness as our empty room was completely filled with “junk”! Magical, special, FREE junk which would transform for our students into materials to construct, invent, and create amazing solutions to the standard aligned challenges they were soon to be presented with. πŸ§»πŸ›πŸ“¦πŸ–‡βœ‚οΈπŸ–βœοΈ

Please see my next installment for Makerspace: The Purpose to find out more about what resources, inspiration, and collaborations took place to plan for the implementation of our flexible learning space!

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