Circuits and Legos and Markers that Doodle…These are a Few of My Favorite Things
Makerspaces…it is the latest buzz word in the library world. How do we create them? Where do we get the stuff? How do we manage it? Where do we get the $$? I have compiled some of the information from the listserve about success stories with makerspaces. I also plan on sharing some of my own experience as I start to explore the world of makerspaces myself.
First, I felt like I needed to survey my students to see what their feelings were on having a creative space in the library. I emailed a Google form, thanks James Allen, to students about their interest. I used the results as evidence for justification on why I wanted to start a creative makerspace area in the library.
Here is a copy of the Google form I used. It was short and to the point.
Once you get some feedback from your patrons, start to look for items. I received a MindWare catalog in the mail due to some items I ordered for our granddaughter for her birthday. It got me to thinking about how I would get my makerspace started. I also met with our science department during their department meeting and got some feedback from them. I wanted to highlight some STEM items and some arts and crafts items.
“Where do I get supplies?
- We are fortunate enough to have a 21st Century after school program. They already had a ton of supplies that they let me raid. In return, I work the program during the summer and after school until 5:00 each day. We do a lot during that time.
- I also do a fundraiser for the library. I just started this. It will help with replacing consumables and keeping supplies stocked. This way, I can justify using Makerspace during the school day as well.
- I am about to request donations. I am going to use the One Call system to ask for used legos, blocks, small appliances/electronics (to deconstruct), and t-shirts for our Pinterest station.
- I collect Box Tops.
- I ask local businesses for scrap wood. They are saving up for me. We’ll make home decorations, ornaments, etc. out of this.”
Metcalfe County Middle School
For my space I ordered a tin can robot set, a snap circuits light set, a physics workshop, a potholder loom kit, a deluxe Spirograph kit, and a set of design adult coloring books and markers. I already have chess and checker boards and a couple of jigsaw puzzles to include in my space as well.
Here are what some other fellow librarians are using to set up their makerspaces:
“I just finished my first four Makey Makey activity cards to get kids started with it. Here’s a link to the file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49unGJvPcc7ampuSlNPTENPOFU/view?usp=sharing
I added them to the form on KYMakes http://kymakes.weebly.com/
If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the “Click to View Ideas Shared” button – you can see the ideas that have already been added.
Feel free to add ideas or links to the document, and hopefully you can add standards – that always helps!”
Heidi Neltner | Teacher
Johnson Elementary School
A National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence
Fort Thomas, KY
“Activities we do
- Snap circuits
- Lego robot (we only have one)
- Videoing/editing & green screen
- 3D printing
- Lots and lots of artsy craftsy stuff
- Baking (a very small counter top oven)
- Perler beads
- Bow making
- Anything to do with popsicle sticks
- Crayon melting
- Legos & K’Nex
- Model airplanes & cars
- Wood working (small stuff)
- T-shirt decorating
- Deconstruction (small appliances and electronics)
- Whatever the kids can think up
This paints a great picture, but it’s not always perfect. There are times I have lots of traffic, and times there’s hardly anyone here. I run out of supplies. I am not the best at organizing. I’m sure someone who was gifted in that area could take this space and make it look awesome and organized. Mine is not! Sometimes it’s organized chaos at its best. I have a harder time engaging the boys. Some kids come in and have no idea what to do and nothing inspires them. I have to be on VERY good terms with the custodians. We have carpet, so… But all in all, it is totally worth it. The kids LOVE it when they do come.”
Metcalfe County Middle School
Check out some of the great photos from Kelly’s makerspace in Metcalfe County.
Find more great pics at the school link below.
“How do I have space?
- I completely cleared out my office and turned it into a Makerspace supply area and room.
- I gave up my nice, new circulation desk for supplies and a place to work (I made myself a small circulation area out of a teacher desk and table put together.)
How do I have time for kids to work?
- As I said before, much is done during the after school program. However…
- I get to school 30 minutes early each day for any kids to come in and do whatever in Makerspace.
- I have teachers who come down to use Makerspace in conjunction with projects they are doing. For example, I just finished collaborating with a teacher in an advertising unit. All students videoed and edited commercials. They could create props from Makerspace, use green screen, shoot and edit video, etc. I have a had a few teachers to come down and use the supplies for projects where kids had choice. I think it is catching on. It’s new this year, but I hope it spreads and more and more want to use the resources. It’s a slow process.”
Metcalfe County Middle School
My creation space is not going to be close to my checkout station, so it will force me to circulate even more around the library when I am not busy checking students out at the front desk.
This is my back section of the library where I want to set up my makerspace. I am a little nervous about starting it, but I guess I am just going to jump in and give it a try. I plan on setting it up when we come back from Winter break. The materials just came in this week.
While you are off for Winter break, why not brain storm ideas of how you can make a special area in your library for students to create and problem solve. If you come up with some great ideas, share them with me. I would be glad to share them on this new KASL blog.
Until next time. Keep those creative juices flowing and have a wonderful Winter Break!
Teacher Librarian at Meade County High School
KASL Publications Chair