A maker space is a learning environment where children can use a variety of creative tools to explore, construct and design things. These hands-on learning areas are important for early learners because they help children to develop their creativity, thinking skills and critical thinking.
A maker space can be anything from a repurposed book cart with craft supplies to an entire section of the classroom filled with materials. Whatever you choose, it should be a place where students can work collaboratively.
What is a Makerspace?
A maker space is a place where people with different skills come together to learn new things. They are also a gathering point for tools, projects and mentors.
They aren’t defined by the tools they have in them but more by a mindset of community, creativity and collaboration.
These spaces are a safe place for kids to try new things without the pressure of standardized testing or learning outcomes. They are also a great way to teach the fundamentals of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) concepts.
Students who are tinkering with their own devices and making things naturally develop the kind of curiosity that helps them learn. This kind of open-ended thinking and experimentation is essential to any subject.
Schools, libraries and public places are creating makerspaces to help students learn about STEM topics and other important subjects in an exploratory setting. They are also a place to practice critical thinking skills and problem-solving.
How to Create a Makerspace
The Maker Movement has become a global cultural phenomenon that emphasizes active learning through creativity, experimentation and hands-on experiences. Schools, public spaces and libraries are all incorporating makerspaces as part of their curriculum.
If you’re planning to launch a school makerspace, it is important to do your research first. This can help you determine the ideal space for your students and what supplies they might need.
You should also consider how you will generate income for your makerspace. This can be done through workshops, classes or events.
You might also consider partnering with local businesses, arts organizations or community groups that can provide supplies or funding for your space. By doing this, you can create a stronger sense of community around your makerspace.
Designing a Makerspace
A maker space enables students to explore a range of tools and materials to tinker, invent, design and build. This is a hands-on approach to learning and an ideal environment to develop all global competencies, especially problem-solving, innovation and collaboration.
Schools and community centers are increasingly building or repurposing spaces to make them a center for maker activities. This includes re-purposing existing classrooms, libraries and cafeterias as well as building new makerspaces.
Start with a clear definition of the goals and use cases for your makerspace. Then brainstorm with teachers to envision what projects could occur in the space.
Then identify the equipment and tools necessary to make your makerspace a reality. This can be a daunting task but it’s critical for making your space a success.
Remember that your makerspace should be accessible to all people – no matter their abilities, age or interests. It should be a welcoming and comfortable place where they can safely experiment with their ideas, learn from others and have fun.
Using a Makerspace
In a maker space, students have the opportunity to tinker and build with materials like Legos, magnet tiles, K’Nex, moldable sand and more. This type of hands-on learning helps develop students’ creativity and their ability to problem-solve.
While many maker activities lean heavily on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), arts and humanities subjects also make a good fit for a maker space. For example, in a history class, students could use popsicle sticks to create a catapult that works like a catapult did in medieval times.
Despite some of the potential challenges a maker space presents in teaching, it can also be a valuable tool in developing students’ agency and global competencies. Moreover, it’s an effective way to engage and empower students, especially those with limited resources. Teachers should design their lessons with time for making in mind and weave it into the lesson process. This will minimize issues associated with a maker space, such as messiness and the potential for noisy work.