First, let's define makerspace. Makerspace is any designated space in a classroom, library, closet etc. where kids are afforded the time and some basic resources to ask questions and ideate solutions, design and engineer projects, program and code, and generally create and explore open ended project ideas. Some makerspaces are nothing more than a table with cardboard, scissors, paper and tape; others have 3D printers and ozobots to enhance open ended exploration and play. There is no one way to set up a makerspace, it's personalized to the teacher and students’ interests, time and space constraints and availability of resources.
So what could a maker space look like? Well, I attended one workshop where we built bristlebots and then competed in 3 “olympic” events: drag racing, sumo wrestling and a hill climb. The bristlebots were basic, nothing more than a toothbrush head, battery, vibrating motor, pipe cleaners and some double sided tape. You can buy the materials needed to make about 100 of these little guys off of Amazon for $100. See photos below:
So why make space for makerspace? Well I think Jaime Casap, the head of Google Education, summed it up best during his keynote address. He said that the challenges and problems that our students will face in the computer science, engineering and science fields require constant innovation and redesign. So much of our current education system is setup for a fixed endpoint, a final grade and then we move on. Jamie argued that kids need experience developing multiple iterations of prototypes, and recognition that constant innovation and redesign are the norm in the workplaces of the future. The added benefit of all of this is that these are also the kinds of projects that really engage students and make them want to learn.
So are you ready to make space for makerspace?