Monday, April 10, 2017

Makerspace in K: What Does it Look Like? What Does it Do for kids?

Back in the day I added, "Creation Station" to my kindergarten "free choice" options. It was a center stuffed with scrap paper of various shapes, sizes, and colors. It also held confetti, die cuts, stamps, envelopes, you get the idea. My goal was to allow creativity through a writing/craft type of center. Let the kids put writing to real life by making a card for a parent or friend, making a "bracelet" or crafting a picture. The results were OK. Most kids, not surprisingly, would not incorporate writing as they struggled with writing. Most were glad to make things, but they didn't usually go the extra mile. The items were simplistic in design.

     The items were simplistic in design.

This year I decided to switch things up and add a cart...a rolling IKEA cart to the classroom and call it a Makerspace Cart. To be honest, I didn't have much knowledge on Makerspace. I really wasn't sure what it meant, but it sounded cool. And to the cart I added a plethora of items to choose from: Popsicle sticks, googly eyes, glue, ribbon, tape, boxes of various sizes (down to the box the tape came in!), tissue paper, construction paper, string, and anything odd that I would have just thrown away. Consider it my new recycle center. 

Kids shop the cart daily...even looking at it during other work time for possible "good finds" such as a plastic bottle, a gold buckle, a discarded hanger. 

There are no rules at the MakerSpace cart other than to clean up your own mess and put things back where you find them.

What have I noticed? Incredibly diverse creations. Creations to help their parents solve problems (dumbwaiter made from paper and string). Items to fill their heart (stuffed animal). Items for others (toilet paper roll basket). The list goes on and on and rather than repeating, new things are constantly appearing. Each kid now comes up with complex, amazing items akin to designers and engineers. We have gone from mediocre to marvelous. 

We have gone from mediocre to marvelous. 

Listen as this kiddo details what she made.

Are you ready to see amazing things? Here's what you need.

1. A table, center, or cart to house materials.
2. An abundance of various supplies like sticks, buttons, tissue, construction paper, straws, etc.
3. TAPE and CARDBOARD (must haves!!)
4. Anything set to be thrown away (lids, bottles, small cups, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, etc.).

Next time you go to throw something in the trash, 
think to yourself...could this be usable in the MakerSpace?

Inventors and Inventions of the Day!

Great inventions are only limited by the time and supplies to create them. The ideas are there. The students just need our castoffs to solve problems. Make your own Makerspace today!

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