Monday, November 23, 2015

To Unfold: What a MakerSpace Taught Me (Part 2)

My four major takeaways from running an elementary MakerSpace: 

  1. How to answer the question, What is a MakerSpace?
           My best answer...a space with materials for students to let their curiosity and imagination
            come to life. An informal, playful, atmosphere for learning to unfold. A space where making,    
            rather than consuming is the focus. A space where transdisciplinary learning, inquiry, risk-taking,
            thinking, crafting, tinkering, and wondering can blossom.  

  1. Where to find materials for MakerSpace.
           Twenty kids will go through materials quickly. The Lincoln School Improvement Team was lucky
            enough to have received a $1,000 grant from the Adrian Schools Education Foundation to buy
            many of the non-consumable materials, tools, and robotics for the space. However, what really
            makes a MakerSpace is the consumable materials cardboard boxes can be unfolded to make
            cars, boats, and Eiffel Towers. Foam pieces, tubing, and random plastic shapes become the
            lights, windows, hinges, and legs to those creations. The Scrapbox in Ann Arbor, MI was my
            saving grace for finding many of these random and odd materials. Goodwill is where we were
            able to get our free cardboard, and parents also donated materials that they had at home or work.

  1. It’s not always about the Making
          Yes, the making is where all the tinkering, creativity, and innovation unfolds. But, in the end most

            of those creations will get taken apart, torn down, and remade or recycled into something new. As
            I see it, a MakerSpace is about investigation, planning, creating, communicating, personal
            learning, and reflection. It is not a place for grades, standards, test, or pressure (and should never
            be in my opinion). During MakerNIght, I watched parents, teachers, students, and community
            members creating and discovering together. What they took home (other than a cardboard
            creation) was a memory. A memory of creativity, community, and fun in their child's school

  1. To Unfold
           In a MakerSpace environment, there are no specific directions, no rules, no time limits or
            deadlines. It’s a place where ideas can be crumpled up, evaluated and reflected upon, unfolded,
            and recreated. Then repeated, over and over again...and it’s safe.


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