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Makerspaces offer limitless possibilities and are true avenues for student creativity--make sure yours is well-stocked

5 must-haves for school makerspaces


Makerspaces offer limitless possibilities and are true avenues for student creativity--make sure yours is well-stocked

School makerspaces have emerged as centers of creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and more. These skills–often referred to as soft skills, but also known as durable skills for their importance in the workplace–are a focus of 21st-century classrooms.

These days, school libraries often include makerspaces and librarians are becoming well-versed in the coding, robotics, engineering, and tinkering skills necessary to help students bring their ideas to fruition.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, students set up personal makerspaces at home, logging onto school-provided resources and gathering materials from their homes to keep their creativity going when learning moved online.

As schools prepare to welcome back students full-time this fall, many students are likely eager to return to their school makerspaces.

Here are 5 resources (digital and non-digital) for school makerspaces that might be worth a look before the new school year begins–and check out this list for more supplies:

1. Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It’s used by teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make anything. Free lessons plans are ready for use online or in the classroom. Curriculum is developed in partnership with teachers to align with standards including ISTE, Common Core, and NGSS.

2. Hello Ruby is the world’s most whimsical way to learn about computers, technology, and programming. The story started with a book, and now Ruby continues her adventures in exercises, activities and videos. It’s suited for kids age 5 years and older (but even adults might learn something new).

3. Autodesk Design Academy helps students unlock their creativity through free access to project-based learning modules and courses in 3D design. Each course teaches students to use design thinking and software skills to make innovative designs that have an impact on people’s lives. Authored by leading architects, engineers, artists, and animators, courses deliver measurable results aligned with academic and industry standards.

4. Non-digital supplies such as modeling clay, cardboard boxes, LEGO bricks, scissors, card stock, glue guns, sandpaper, and more are all essential parts of successful makerspaces.

5. Snap Circuits teaches basic engineering, electronics and circuitry concepts by using building components with snaps to assemble electronic circuits on a simple “rows-and-columns” base grid. The resulting projects function like the printed circuit board found in most electronic products. Each Snap Circuits part is easily identifiable by a different color and purpose, and each kit includes an easy-to-follow project manual. The product line offers a wide range of kits, in differing size and complexity, for future engineers and makers ages 8+, with a beginner set designed for kids ages 5+.

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Laura Ascione

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