All about having a makerspace in schools – 9+ Resources and Advice

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Makerspaces are popping up in schools everywhere.  But what exactly is a makerspace? A makerspace is a physical space where people can come together to share resources, tools, and knowledge to make or create something. Whether it’s 3D printing, electronics, robotics, coding, or something else entirely, makerspaces offer an engaging way for students to learn and collaborate. 

What will students work on in the makerspace in schools?

Makerspaces are fun for students! But without any instruction or guidance, things are tough. That is why so many resources are available on this website. My Innovative Arts students get experience with my example projects as they get started creating. Here are some of the best resources available:

Why would a makerspace in schools be important? A makerspace is a place where students can use tools, equipment, and materials to create physical objects and explore their creativity. They range from being low-tech with items like cardboard boxes and glue sticks to high-tech with 3D printers and laser cutters. Let’s take a look at why makerspaces are important, how to start one in your school, and the benefits of having a makerspace in the classroom. 

Student Benefits of a Makerspace in Schools 

Makerspaces give students an opportunity to explore their creativity and express themselves through design and engineering projects. They also help foster collaboration by encouraging students from different backgrounds and disciplines to come together around a common goal. In addition, makerspaces provide hands-on learning opportunities that help develop problem-solving skills as well as critical thinking skills.

As technology evolves at an increasingly rapid pace, makerspaces serve as a great introduction for students into STEM fields such as computer science, programming, engineering, robotics, 3D printing and more. 

Teacher Benefits of a Makerspace In Schools

Teachers benefit from having access to technology that can help them facilitate learning opportunities for their students that are hands-on and engaging while also encouraging critical thinking skills such as problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, perseverance etc.. This is wonderful as a teacher! When students have access to this type of resource, they are able to complete projects and extend their learning in ways that you do not have to explicitly plan!

Why Makerspaces Are Important 

That said, makerspaces allow students to explore their creativity and be creative problem solvers. They give students the opportunity to make mistakes without judgement or criticism from others. Through trial and error, students learn from their mistakes and become better problem solvers which carries over into other areas of life. Additionally, makerspaces encourage collaboration between students as they work together on projects while honing their communication skills. 

How To Start A Makerspace 

Starting a makerspace doesn’t have to be intimidating if you break it down into smaller goals. It is best not to try to tackle everything all at once but rather begin by establishing some small goals that can be achieved over a few weeks or months. Additionally, identify the resources available within your school community such as parents who could offer expertise or materials that could be donated by local businesses or organizations.

Once you have identified resources then select an appropriate space for your makerspace – this could be an unused classroom or corner of the library – get approval from administration/teachers/parents, stock it with supplies (this will depend on how complex you want it to be) then let your students explore!  

The best thing you can do is start small and let people step up to help you grow. People will come out of the woodwork to help you start something like this.

When starting a makerspace in your school, there are several key elements you need to consider. First and foremost is safety; make sure you have safety protocols in place before allowing students access to any tools or materials available in the space. You’ll also want to consider who will be running the space—will it be teachers only? Students only? A combination of both? You should also think about what supplies will be needed—what type of materials do you need for each project? Will you need specialized equipment like 3D printers or robotics kits? 

Once you’ve figured out all of the logistics, it’s time to get creative! Part of being successful with makerspaces is having plenty of options available for students. Make sure there are enough projects that everyone can find something they’re interested in—from coding robots to 3D printing models to creating digital art and more. The possibilities are endless in a makerspace in schools! 

Free ways and cheap ways to get started

Having parents bring in old toilet paper tubes and egg cartons will get you started. My first machine purchase would be an inexpensive Ender-3 3D printer. Suddenly you can have students designing and printing their own parts to their projects. Here is how I teach both:

Designing with TinkerCAD

TinkerCAD is the easiest way to get started. It’s easy to learn but powerful once you learn the tools.

Here is how I teach it in class!

Managing your classroom 3D printers

I prefer to have many, cheaper printers. Innovative Arts students run these printers themselves! We use the free program Cura

Starting a makerspace in schools provide an incredible learning opportunity for both teachers and students alike! Through trial and error exploration with various tools, materials, equipment etc., these spaces allow teachers access to technology that can help them facilitate learning opportunities for their students while giving them the opportunity to express themselves through creating physical objects while developing critical thinking skills such as problem solving, communication, collaboration etc.. With just a little bit of planning and preparation starting your own makerspace can be relatively easy so why not give it a go today? You won’t regret it!

Basic project idea: Popsicle stick engineering!

Starting a makerspace in schools give teachers the chance to provide hands-on learning experiences that engage even the most reluctant learners while teaching them valuable problem-solving skills. With careful planning and consideration of safety protocols as well as access to materials and tools necessary for success, starting a makerspace in your school can open up new doors of exploration for your students – not just now but far into the future too!

This site is devoted to the idea that maker education can teach a lot more than just hands-on projects, check out the Puzzle/Shift/Create resources below!

Creating a safe environment where students feel empowered to use their imaginations while collaborating on projects provides invaluable learning experiences that will set them up for future success no matter which career they pursue down the line.

I am creating this site to advance student creativity and help students to take ownership of their learning. The resources on this site are intentionally open-ended and a part of my Innovative Arts curriculum.

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