Approach every mishap as a teachable moment.

The best piece of advice to get started with making is to dive in, head first. Set your goals and expectations for integrating the technology into your classroom, and don’t be afraid of failure. These are the moments when you and your students will learn the most. – Joy Schwartz

Makerspaces can be messy. Sometimes it looks like a junkyard in my room, but I know that learning is happening. They’re collaborating, they’re creating, and they’re showing what they know and what they’re learning in a really cool way. – Faith Plunkett

When it comes time to purchase something big, go for versatility and quality. 

Are the materials cross curricular? Are there lessons available for educators? Are the companies willing to work alongside educators? How durable are the products? My products are heavily used by hundreds of children, so I need to make sure that if the product breaks, it’s easy to replace or get fixed. – Faith Plunkett

I ended up buying a bunch of smaller budget printers for use over the summer. They were more trouble than useful. Very frustrating. Get the good stuff to start! – Ken Hawthorn

Their makerspace must-haves:  

Ken Hawthorn

  • The Original Pink Box: We made an island out of these four carts to mount tabletop wood tools, like scroll saws and belt sanders.
  • Vinyl Cutter: Allow students to draw on white boards, take a photo of it, and transform it into classroom wall art.
  • Audio Exciters: Transform an object’s outer surface into a speaker.

Nicholas Provenzano

  • littlebits: A simple access point for students to create practical STEAM creations.
  • Raspberry Pi: A small, programmable computer that opens students to a world of discovery.
  • Makey Makey: Turn everyday objects into touchpads that “talk” to computer programs to bring coding projects to life.
  • Dremel DigiLab 3D printer: 3D printing gives students the opportunity to demonstrate understanding beyond a poster board, power point, or a multiple-choice test.

Faith Plunkett

  • Cardboard, scissors, and duct tape: My students have been able to create some really neat things using cardboard. I love showing them that you can use your imagination with any and every tool that you have.
  • Legos and buildable materials: I am in the process of creating a Lego wall using large Lego baseplates. The students love creating objects, and this will give them a larger space to create, but also to showcase their creations.
  • Button batteries and LED lights: My students love creating things that they can wear. One neat thing they’ve been able to do is add the button batteries and LED lights to their creations to make their clothes and accessories light up.
  • Dremel DigiLab 3D printer: I love that 3D printing has opened up a world of creation that my students never knew existed. Using digital manipulation, they’re able to draw out, program out, or drag shapes together to create anything they want.
  • Dash and Dot robots: I was so excited when Dash robots came out. My students had been using Bee-Bots, but I wanted them to go one step further, and actually write programs.

About the Author:

Satish Subramanian is the Dremel DigiLab Brand Manager for the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation. Follow Dremel DigiLab on Twitter @DremelEdu.