Fall in Love with the Makerspace
Do you remember the first time you fell in love? It probably wasn’t with another person, it was probably with football, or drawing, or an instrument, or computer programing. The Makerspace at GWA is a space for students to fall in love and find their passion.
What is the Makerspace?
The GWA Makerspace provides students with a place and time to think, make, learn, explore, collaborate and share. It is part of what is called the maker movement, which is fundamentally about approaches, mindsets, and community. The Makerspace provides a variety of maker equipment, materials, resources, support and community for students to fully participate in the opportunity to think creatively, make something, acquire new skills, meet like-minded peers and collaborate.
The maker experience helps students achieve both competence and confidence in their ability to take on constructive challenges, gain an increasing degree of familiarity with tools, processes, the handling of materials and methods, and understanding of basic fundamentals. In the Makerspace, students begin to see themselves as people who can understand the design of the world, and then through an often messy process of tinkering and hacking, create solutions and improvements. Learning comes in the form of hands-on successes and failures.
How is the Makerspace in ASA different from the class?
The After School Activities Maker Program is different from the Makerspace Class Curriculum in a few interesting ways. ASA positions student interest at the center of the Maker Program. That emphasizes the value of students actively working on personally meaningful projects they care about, so they work longer and harder for extended, 90-minute sessions. The maker instruction is more like supportive guidance and facilitation than formal teaching. More importantly, the mission of the program is to help students find their passion by offering them more room for self-guided exploration. Students having fun, having a sense of ownership, gaining competence and confidence, celebrating achievement, taking their projects home and being able to share their after school experience with friends and family are key components of the program's reward system.
What kinds of projects can you do in Makers Space?
In the After School Maker Program, students can design games and animations through coding; prototype powered machines and architectural structures; create interactive devices / gadgets using microcontrollers, sensors, displays, motors etc.; make wearable tech items such as an illuminated masks or a sparkling bracelet by combining physical computing, electronics and craft; design and 3D print objects or key components necessary for a compound project; work with wood to make a piece of furniture and use a CNC carving machine for a more challenging task; work on art and craft projects such as printmaking and bookbinding; take toys and everyday objects apart to see how they work and use the mechanisms and circuits to make their own invention; make a gift from scratch or customize an item to make it unique (e.g. design and 3D print a custom clock face); experiment with curious artifacts such as a light wind generators, scribbling machines, periscopes, cardboard automata, chain reaction contraptions, pinball machine and more.
Why should a student sign up for Makers Space?
From a parent's perspective, the After School Maker Program can help any child to find their passion, discover their potential, develop their talents while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond.
From a student perspective, it's about giving them the opportunity to nurture their own natural love to explore, learn, imagine, make, play and have fun. Ask any participant, and they will tell you what they fell in love with while in the Makerspace:
Sultan, 5th: "I fell in love with the Makerspace because I already love building using wood and paper. It's fun! I also like that I can take home my projects. I discovered that I'm good at making things that work."
Sara, 4th: "I fell in love with building structures with blocks and use real materials and tools. The Pinewood Derby car was my favorite project. I want to become an architect, so Makerspace is good for me."
Henrietta, 5th: "I loved everything about working in the Makerspace. I like that sometimes we can make whatever we want, but one of my favorite projects was making an LED lamp in playdoh."
Reda, 6th: "I fell in love with Kano! (a computer and coding kit) it's my favorite thing to do. Because I like to make games using code, and build things in Minecraft. When I was in Elementary School I liked coding and using a computer to make things. Physical Computing activities are interesting."