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MAKE R E DUCATI O N

Starting a School Makerspace from Scratch


JULY 1 6 , 2 0 1 5

ByColleenGraves,MakerTeacherLibrarian@gravescolleen/Makerspaceblogger@colleengraves.org

WiththeNationalWeekofMaking(https://www.whitehouse.gov/nationof
makers)behindus,youmightbereadytostartamakerspaceinyourschoolbut
notknowwheretostart.Willpurchasingacostly3Dprinterandthelatest
roboticskitensurelearningandmakersuccess?Whataresomestepstostarting
asuccessfulmakerspacefromscratch?

Step1:ImmerseYourselfinMakerEducation

Photocredit:KevinJarrettvia
flickr(CCBY2.0)
Beforeyoucanbuildyourowncommunityofmakers,youneedtojoinone!
(https://www.flickr.com/photos/kjarrett/18840614822/)

Immerseyourselfinmakerspacesbyjoiningasummermakercamplike
Exploratorium'sTinkeringFundamentals
(https://www.coursera.org/course/tinkering)orthevirtualCampGoogle(https://camp.withgoogle.com/)forcheap
andeasySTEMideas,butmostimportantly:makestuff!Gotothepubliclibraryoracommunitymakerspaceand
learnArduino,coding,etc.SomeeasywaysintocodingaretheHourofCode(http://code.org/learn)andScratch
programming(https://scratch.mit.edu/).Instituteafamilymakertimeathomeandmakelowtech,STEMrelated
craftswithlittleones,likethisballoonpropelledcar(http://www.instructables.com/id/BalloonPoweredCar/)or
thisballoonhovercraft(https://instagram.com/p/4PmqIJ1x1/).

Step2:GetOthersInvolved
Startasteeringcommitteeforyourmakerspacebyinvolvinginterestedteachersandstudents.Includeyour
committeeinpurchasingdecisions,goalsetting,workshopideas,andevenleadingmakerspaceprogramming.
LearnfromotherschoolsandstudentsaboutwhattheydobyreachingoutwithSkypeorGoogleHangouts
(http://www.flippinglibrarian.com/?p=157).
Ifyoucan,reachouttothecommunityandgetparentsandcommunitymembersinvolved.You'llalsoengage
studentsifyouenlistmentorexperts.Startbyfindingstudentexpertsinyourschoolandaroundyourcommunity.
UtilizeTwitterorSkypeintheClassroom(https://education.skype.com/)tobranchout.Ourstudentslove
connectingwithothermakerstudentsaroundthecountry,aswellasmakerexpertsliketheinventorsofMakey
Makey(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5MjwhgOHPg).

Step3:PurchasingMakerspaceResources
Herearethreeguidelines:

1.Whatpurchaseswillgiveyouthemostbangforyourbuck?Willbuyinga3Dprinterbreakyourbudget?
2.Writegrants,askyourPTAforfunds,orusecrowdsourcefundinglikeDonorsChoose
(http://www.donorschoose.org/project/circuitgirlsastemfocusedclubfory/1497014/?challengeid=20485133)
orGoFundMe.YoucansignupformonthlyemailsaboutgrantopportunitiesfromMackin
(https://www.mackin.com/corp/resources/grantchannel/).
3.Askforoldelectronics,popsiclesticks,balloons,oldcartoys,oldelectronictoys,wirecutters,oldtelephone
wire,oldtennisballs,etc.YoullfindlotsofgreatSTEMlessonsatpastGoogleMakerCamps
(https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwhkA66li5vAR_CboA0lVOlrmqIqvlw_O).FollowSTEMaccounts
andothermakerspacesonInstagram,andscourPinterestforcheapideas.

Step4:BuildingaCommunityofMakers
Immerseyourstudentsinmakersupplies.Justassurroundingkidswithbooksmotivatesthemtoread,
surroundingthemwithtinkeringtoolsmotivatesthemtocreate.Youdon'tneedaspecialroomforyour
makerspace.Allyouneedaremakerresources,somewheretostoreitems,andabeginner'sknowledgeofhowto
useyourresources.
PhotoCredit:ColleenGraves

OnceImovedourmakerspacematerialsfromthebackroomintoaneasilyaccessibleareabehindourcirculation
deskandinstitutedaprojectshelf,ourstudentsstartedtinkeringeveryday!

Step5:HostingWorkshopsand/orDesignChallenges
Oneofthemostimportantaspectsofstartingamakerspaceisgettingthepulseofyourcommunity.Ihavean
"iWanna"boxonthecirculationdesk,andthefirstsuccessfuldesignchallengeatLamarwasbornfromastudent
ideathatendedupthere.Thatstudentwantedtocreatecatapults,soweendedupthrowingdownaCatapult
Challenge(http://renovatedlearning.com/2015/02/04/thestewartlamarcatapultchallenge/)toDianaRendina's
classinFlorida,andtheyinturnchallengedustocreategamesinScratchandinventcontrollerswithMakey
Makey(http://colleengraves.org/2015/02/16/makeymakeychallenge/).
StudentsalsolovetinkeringwithSnapCircuits,littleBits,Knex,Lego,MakeyMakey,Sphero,andScratchduring
ourmakermornings(seearesourcelisthere(http://colleengraves.org/makerspaceresourcesandprogramming
ideas/))althoughjustowningalloftheseresourcesisnotgoingtoensurethatmakingleadstolearning.Let
kidstinkerandplay,buteventually,you'llhavetoguidetheirlearningbycreatingdesignchallenges.
Designchallengesteachproblemsolvingandcreativethinking,andthey'reoneoftheeasiestwaystocreatea
communityofmakers.MakeyMakeycoinventorJaySilver(http://www.edutopia.org/blog/treesofknowledgejay
silver)declares,"Designchallengesaresoimportant...itintroducestimelimits,afocusedtheme,andendswith
ashowandtell."Youcanshowoffstudentcreationsbyhostingaminimakerfaire,connectingyourmakerswith
otherstudentsviaSkypeandTwitterchats,orshowcaseprojectsonothersocialmedia
(https://tackk.com/bfd6b5).
PhotoCredit:ColleenGraves

Herearesomedesignchallengeideasthatworkedforme:

HostaSpheroobstaclecourse(https://www.thinglink.com/scene/647620106611851264)challenge,and
challengestudentstoincorporatelittleBits(https://twitter.com/gravesdotaaron/status/599596446426497024)to
makea"smart"course.
Hosta#makeymakeychallenge(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laULiq1kRUw)toenticestudentsinto
creatingvideogames,notjustconsumingthem.
MakeyourclassroomorlibraryaninteractivespacewithMakeyMakey.Letkidsdesigninteractivespotsin
yourroom(seemydesignchallengelessonatMakeyMakey.com
(http://makeymakey.com/lessons/interactiveroomchallenge/)).

Step6:IntegratingMakerEducationIntotheCurriculum
Whiletinkeringcanleadtolearning,rememberthatmakerspaceprogrammingcanalsosupportclassroom
curriculum.Herearesomeideasforincorporatingmakingintheclassroom:
MakeyMakey(http://colleengraves.org/makeredlessonsbyresource/)inELA,science,math,andmusic
Sphero(http://www.sphero.com/education/)inscienceandphysicslessons
littleBits(http://littlebits.cc/)prototypingkitsformathconcepts:
Parabolas(http://littlebits.cc/browselessons/spacelessonsatellitedish)
Inversesquarelaw(http://littlebits.cc/browselessons/spacelessoninversesquare)
Multiplication(http://littlebits.cc/browselessons/clockdivisionwithlittlebits)
Angles(http://littlebits.cc/browselessons/investigatingthelawofreflection)
littleBitsfordesignsolutions:
Ecosystemslesson(http://littlebits.cc/browselessons/ecosystemsoftheworld)
Designthinking(http://littlebits.cc/casestudydesignthinkingsteamschool)
Designthinkingforhighschoolsocialstudies(http://www.edutopia.org/blog/designthinkingmakinglearning
fromheartemilyblocklisayokana)
Whataresomegoalsthatyou'dliketosetforyourschoolmakerspace?Haveyouincorporatedanygreat
makerspacelessonsinclassroomsatyourschool?Pleaseshareinthecommentssectionofthispost.

Source:www.edutopia.org/blog/startingschoolmakerspacefromscratchcolleengraves
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