What is the MakerSpace?
Our students presently come to the MakerSpace two weeks of every three weeks - each time for about an hour to an hour and a half. Each two week "rotation" has a focus of learning, developed in collaboration with the classroom teachers. Some of the activities are rooted in curriculum that teachers are covering in their classrooms; others are more student directed. Teachers participate in the MakerSpace with their students; both learning and teaching. Occasional parent volunteers also assist in the space.
The Mount Vernon MakerSpace includes:
- A consistent focus on collaboration, communication, citizenship, critical thinking, and creativity
- Opportunities for all students to use the engineering process to plan, develop, create, and problem solve as they invent new solutions to problems - from existing construction materials as well as from recycled/reclaimed materials
- A building continuum of coding experience across grade levels that include both student directed projects and curriculum embedded projects
- Robotics challenges at assorted levels (including a First Lego League)
- 3D modeling and printing (upper grades only at this time)
- Various circuitry experiences for all grade levels
- Opportunities to create interactive simulations and presentations
- Various building materials to explore such as Keva, other blocks, K'nex, Lego, etc.
- First Lego League competition team
- Video production opportunities that include green screen and stop motion (starting in January)
Anticipated developments for the MakerSpace in the new year include:
- Maker Mondays: opportunities for students and their families to work in the MakerSpace after school. These will be led by parent and teacher volunteers, each Monday with a specific focus depending on the leader's area of expertise.
- Short teamwork exercises will be held at the beginning of each afternoon Maker session with debrief - hoping to increase our abilities to collaborate and communicate meaningfully.
- Increased student choice: as we approach equity in exposure to the tools, students (and teachers) will be able to make more choices in how they use the space.
- We fully expect that our MakerSpace will change and develop over time. This promises to be a changing journey....
Foreseeable needs include:
- A need for increased robotics challenges. The question: where to go from here as our students become more proficient in coding and robotics? We are planning to add Hummingbirds and EV3 robotics with the LEGO challenge table by next year....but then what?
- An increased emphasis on local business people as mentors and resources. We are blessed to live near NASA - how can we increase our connections to this group?