By definition maker spaces are creative, do-it-yourself (DIY) spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. There are many kits and products I hope to purchase this year including Arduino, Makey Makey, Legos and Raspberry Pi. However, I decided not to let the absence of these tools stop me from transforming the CCHS Library into a maker space for our students. In reading about all of the awesome and creative things other librarians and educators are doing to provide students with opportunities to create and learn, my assistant and I realized that it’s impossible to wait until you have all the fancy stuff; making needs to happen now by leveraging what we have and finding things we can use to pull it off.
In building our Maker Space in the CCHS Library, our goal is to create an environment where students have the freedom to choose things they are interested in exploring; stations that are fun, creative and mix in learning across various curricula. Our Maker Space Kickoff was designed around a Winter Holiday theme and was our first attempt at building interest among students. We offered stations that dealt with Physics and Math, such as rubber band cars and catapults, as well as, a simple circuit station that allowed students to play with electronics. Other students dove into learning to do programming and coding through Code.org’s resources and by using the Library’s Roboquad robot. Some of our stations focused more heavily on the arts, allowing students to learn how to repurpose old t shirts, hand crochet scarves and make holiday themed origami. Two groups even tested out their creativity and media skills through stop motion animation and green screen effects, both of which utilized iPads.
The kickoff was a complete success as our students were 100% engaged in discovering, learning and sharing and most have asked to come back and continue on with the project they have started. We received great feedback from our all of the students who participated and have decided to have two more Maker Space events; one in March, which will revolve around an Alice in Wonderland with stations that incorporate aspects of the movie into science, math and art and a final event on May the 4th, Star Wars Day. And as you can probably guess, this event is one I can’t wait for (Star Wars geek for life).