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Everybody Can Have a Maker Space!


Maker Space...

Many of you think that immediately means that you need money to make it happen. Well, I am here to tell you that there are many ways to get started with a maker space that don't require different materials than you already have, just a different mindset!

3D Printing, lasers, robots, and drones are all REALLY fun ways to work as a maker but they aren't the most accessible tools out there. (Unless you are in REMC 11 and we have all of those things for checkout here.) Adam Savage, from Mythbusters, likes to mention that to be a maker is to create regardless of medium. Additionally he is noted for calling corrugated cardboard the gateway drug for all makers! Look around your school, how many of you have more cardboard than your students could possibly use?

To get your students started, I recommend doing a quick bit of reading on the design cycle or as AJ Juliani calls it, the Launch Cycle. Both basically boil down to these steps. 

1. Identify your problem (Empathize)
2. Brainstorm Ideas (No idea is a bad idea.)
3. Select a model and try it out.
4. Evaluate the model and determine if revision is needed.
5. Revise your idea or try a different one.
6. Share your results or idea with the world. (Super Important!!!)

While I have written the steps out in a very linear fashion, the process itself is far from that. Students will drift around the cycle as their project organically comes to fruition. 

As I mentioned above, giving students a chance to try something out with a low-consequence environment will allow them to think outside the box and come up with solutions that you didn't even see coming.  You will be amazed how just setting up some cardboard, markers, scissors, and some glue will create a maker space where students will demonstrate their level of understanding on concepts and blow you away with their innovations!

Connections to curriculum are not that hard to find when allowing your students to innovate and go through this process. Think about shapes for math or telling a story of their creation for ELA. How about talking about the environmental conditions necessary for their invention to work? (Science) Or even challenging them to use the cardboard to make a recreation of a historical event? (Social Studies)

I challenge you to think about how you could change a test into a design focused project. 

If you need help with this, Joe and I are always willing to come out and support!

Have a a great start to your school year!

~John 

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