makerspace design challenges

4 considerations for your first makerspace

A beginner's guide to what makerspaces really are, whether or not one should be implemented, and some fun ideas for the new school year.

Quick Makerspace Ideas for the New School Year

The best makerspaces try not to pigeonhole themselves into one set of activities. A makerspace with just circuitry to play with is just an electrical engineering lab. Great makerspace projects are mashups from all the disciplines. Here are some important considerations as you develop your makerspace:

  • Art rooms have been makerspaces for decades and can be your greatest resource in this venture. They already feature large, durable tables that are perfect for collaboration and flooring that promotes safety. Additionally, art teachers are experienced in allowing students to explore their creativity.
  • Try out new tools like the 3Doodler pen or Califone Listening First headset to bring activities to life across a wide range of subjects. When creating lessons to accompany these tools, you don’t have to start from scratch. There are many ideas, projects, and lesson plans available, such as this resource.
  • Don’t forget our students with special needs. Incorporate as many tools as possible for children with a range of abilities so that all students can grow in makerspaces. Skills testing is particularly useful for students with special needs. Also, keep the floor free of obstructions, make the space flexible, make sure all sharp objects are sheathed or guarded at all times, and provide quiet spaces.
  • Although 3D printers and power tools aren’t suitable for young learners, makerspaces can work in early childhood. The process of experimenting and building a solution to a problem can happen with low-tech materials like recycled boxes and paper towel rolls or building bricks and other manipulatives. Making is a way of bringing engineering to young learners within concrete experiences to help build an understanding of abstract science and math concepts.

Creativity is a key 21st century skill! The sky is the limit, but the more varied materials you provide, the more the students’ imagination is unlocked. With imagination comes success in all the disciplines.

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