Contributing writer Cory DeWald explores the Makerspace and the opportunities students can find there.
Makerspace presents an opportunity for students to explore their creativity, find independence and make something entirely their own. Makerspace helps students who learn better through hands on activities.
Makerspace students gain experience in a wide range of tools, software programs and techniques.
Junior Isa Siddiqui said what he liked about Makerspace was “having the liberty to be able to do what you want. Also being taught a broad range of things.”
The Makerspace was made possible by a $100,000 donation from class of 1956 alumna Barbara Frick.
Students can either opt to take semester long Makerspace I and II classes or use the Makerspace to work on projects for other classes. The Makerspace is a place where projects are imagined, developed and created. In the Makerspace classes students are taught the design process, problem solving and safety.
“I think there’s a Makerspace because it’s something that a lot of schools have and have thought through as to how to provide a space for kids to create and design. It’s an authentic learning experience where kids can tinker and create on their own,” Makerspace teacher Mindy Siefert said.
The Makerspace classes are structured in units with specific objectives and structured class time is given. The Makerspace is open for all students to use. Students can come in during fourth and fifth hour for open lab time to work on projects for another class or for fun.
The Makerspace provides a wide range of equipment like for students to add a layer of depth to their education through project-based learning. In the Makerspace students are able to learn how to use CAD and Tinkercad for 3D printing, laser-cutters, CNC routers as well as sewing machines, drone flight, video creation and editing and traditional hand tools. This broad range of options means that students can choose what they want to learn without the commitment of a traditional shop or FACS class.
A 2011 study published by the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) and the Walden University College of Education found that Project Based Learning (PBL) improves students’ skills in math and science as well as communication.
The study also found that these skills carried over into the workforce beyond high school education. By making projects related to what students are learning about in their classes, high school students able to view the lessons in the context of problem solving, experimentation and critical thinking.