Tuesday, March 14, 2017

SOL Challenge Day 14: A Makerspace. (Even When There Isn't a Budget)



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In October, I had the chance to attend LEA in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It was there that I listened to Matthew Bergholdt, an LCMS school leader, speak about Makerspace.  

I.was.hooked.  

But as I'm wired, I needed to let this swirl a bit before I jumped right in.  

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I lingered in this book for awhile.  (Recommended in Mr. Bergholdt's presentation.)

I went to a Maker Space presentation in Kansas City about 2 weeks later in October at a Google Summit.  That one was fun, but a little discouraging.  You see, it began with, "My budget was $40,000."  What?!?!?!  Oh, I had a blast playing and experimenting and thinking what if.  But I was slightly discouraged.  For a minute.  Then I got over it.  

But my Maker Space budget?  $0.00.  
Challenge Accepted.

I take that back.  I had a gift of a classroom allocation.  (About 200.00)  I used it immediately to buy some Legos and Flats to go with them.  I'm assuming as one Maker to another, you might understand why I went straight for Legos.

Let's take a tour, shall we?



This is the space.  It's compact.  It is NOT fancy.  It's toward the back of the room, where a tall table, a table with wheels, and a hexagon shaped table all reside as well.  (Room for collaboration.)  The shelf came from my house, it was in our playroom and wasn't really being used.  

Yes, there is a sign that indicates it is open.  Most of the time it is.  Especially in the afternoon, it is almost always a choice.  I'm swirling around how to effectively keep it open during the Literacy block as well.  


Legos.  As a parent caught wind of the Maker Space, she offered up a tub of K'Nex.  They have motors and gears.  Yes, please. 

Tinkertoys came from my house.  I have an 8 and 12 year old, and they just don't use them as much anymore.  

In the blue basket?  Foam, bolts, washers, nails.  Now, clearly there are some safety issues here.  This year's class has remarkable self-control.  So they were receptive to the safety lessons that came with this basket.  They love to build robots.  The foam was left over from a craft.  The hardware came from Mr.'s stash in the garage.  (He's so cool.)

This basket has origami paper and directions for making basic origami folds.  The paper came from our stash at home.  

Cardboard and duct tape.  The duct tape I did purchase out of pocket.  It came out of our household budget.  

This basket has buttons and craft sticks.  Treasures found in "the closet".  

Paper of all shapes and sizes.  You can see the 
hexagon table in the background.  A lot of spontaneous writing takes place when this paper is out.  I love it.  

What about the kids Making?  Let's take a peek:

I usually encourage kids to work in pairs to practice collaboration.  But I don't force the issue.  

Sometimes it just needs to be a kid and his cardboard.  

An unintended consequence?  Certainly not negative, but reading the Lego directions has been a springboard for reading and writing nonfiction and technical ("how to") writing.  

But sometimes you just have to create from scratch.  



Next Steps:

I wish I had more space to display work, whether it is finished or in progress.  Could I really dedicate the back corner simply for Making?

I do have some technology.  How can we effectively amplify what is going on here?  Naturally, I wish I had some technology for the kids to connect with in their Making.  

I've been gathering resources from Twitter, Amazon, Pinterest, Other educators on other considerations and readings around Maker Space.  




 What I've learned:
You don't have to have a lot (or any) money to get this started.

There could be a whole post on the teaching points that occur organically within the Maker space.

The kids love it.  It brings them joy during their school day.   The idea that play is important work really shines here.

Maker Space is a process.  It might not ever be done.  I'm learning to be okay with that.



Do you Make?  What advice do you have for me?  What else do you want to know?

Joy!
Kendra





8 comments:

  1. This was SO enjoyable to read and loved following your narrative along with the engaging photos. "Let's take a tour, shall we?" I'm impressed with you taking on the challenge. This is something I've been wanting to try! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  2. Thanks for an informative, enjoyable post. As a maker at home, I do my best to bring the concept into the classroom. Occasionally, I'll encourage students to bring consumables from home (cardboard, paper, tape, wrapping paper, etc) and that's always a hit. Good luck!

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  3. This is what my school has done always, encouraged building things along with the writing and reading. It looks like you've done beautifully, Kendra. We found all through the years that asking parents to donate if they have any "extras" like legos was great. Lots no longer had need of them, or had extras. And cardboard, shoe boxes, plus duct tape goes a long way! Best wishes!

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  4. This is awesome! We started our Innovation Lab (maker space) last year on the same budget. We use lots of the same things you did. The middle school students love it. We just saved enough to make a Lego wall and re-purposed some bookshelves to make tables. Super fun! Enjoy!

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  5. This is awesome! We started our Innovation Lab (maker space) last year on the same budget. We use lots of the same things you did. The middle school students love it. We just saved enough to make a Lego wall and re-purposed some bookshelves to make tables. Super fun! Enjoy!

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  6. This is great! I want to start a Maker Space!

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  7. Wow! I love your approach to this! I bet your kiddos are having a blast creating and "making". I'm intrigued but not sure how I'd pull that off. hmmmmm......

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  8. Wow! This is fantastic and inspiring! Thank you.

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