Engage your students
In the past five months, our makerspace has grown into a community of students who are building, animating, constructing, deconstructing, editing, and developing as makers. We also engaged students in mentoring others as a way to share their knowledge and connect with their community.

Students with skills in animation, coding, photo editing, video production and even fly-tying offered their support. The list of skills that students shared was the beginnings of our “maker mentors.” These high school students offered their expertise in technology to a group of middle school students, through mini-lessons at the end of last year.

But students also help each other every day, with using the 3D printer and troubleshooting their digital designs. One student is working collaboratively on a stop-motion animation project with students who are highly skilled in video production and music editing. A student who is passionate about being a fashion designer co-facilitated our fashion challenge in the makerspace, where students repurposed t-shirts into unique garments and accessories.

Offering an array of options is important to engaging as many students as possible. Our students are interested in technology, art, construction, and crafts. We are constantly collecting ideas from our students and monitoring their interests as we create our maker stations. Students take inspiration from the stations, but always seem to put their own spin on their self-directed learning.

On a typical day, students may be taking-apart electronics, working on digital 3D modeling, sewing, or experimenting with game controllers. We’ve started to include makerspace time as a part of our middle school activity nights, and high school students are excited to plan their own event. The makerspace is both a social and creative hub for our students in the library.

Next page: Taking risks with staff and students