Setting Up a MakerSpace
Interested in setting up a makerspace?! Congratulations on taking the first step by doing some research.
If a makerspace is properly set up and introduced, it can be a great tool for igniting student imagination and curiosity as well as building classroom community. Unfortunately, if the makerspace has not been set up with the students in mind, it will not be the student-centered and student-driven space it needs to be.
The following are four tips and tricks for a stress-free makerspace set up.
1. Plan with Students
If you want your makerspace to be an engaging student-centered place for learning you have to not only plan with students in mind, but invite them into the planning process. Spend time meeting with students about how they see themselves as a maker and about what projects they envision themselves working on in the makerspace. After all, no matter how fancy of a makerspace you create, if students are not able to see themselves in that space the investment wont be there.
You may also want to plan with your team, families, and/or the surrounding community. The more people you have supporting and investing in the maker vision the better. You can also request supplies through a crowdfunding site such as GoFundMe or Donors Choose. An editable letter and supply list are available in our Makerspace Bundle to make it easy to request support and supplies from families and community members.
2. Organize the Space
Once supplies start coming in from families and community members, the next important step is to be sure that each and every supply has a specific place and a label. My favorite STEM organizing bins are the clear photo box storage containers and the clear plastic shoebox containers. Included in our Makerspace Bundle are 50 STEM labels plus an editable template to ensure that your space will stay organized throughout the school year.
One suggestion is to have student helpers organize the space. This not only saves you time, but it also helps ensure that student investment piece. Keep in mind that if students are invested they will not only be more excited about the space, but they will also be more likely to properly take care of it.
3. Decorate the Space
Now that you have set up your space, supplies are coming in, and you have an organization system, the next step is to decorate. Make the space inviting for students and continue to invest them in the process by giving opportunities to help decorate.
One idea is to have students decorate your makerspace sign by gluing items to the letters such as feathers, pom poms, and popsicle sticks. A template for the makerspace sign is included in our Makerspace Bundle. Students can also create posters to hang in the makerspace displaying procedures and expectations.
4. Inspire Students to Make
Keep in mind that the purpose of your makerspace is to inspire students to explore, tinker, create, and make. In order to do that they are going to need plenty of inspiration. Some ideas include having books readily available to students with project ideas. Students may also be inspired by having access to real-world examples of makers and their projects. In an effort to provide students with continuous ideas and inspiration our Makerspace Bundle includes over 50 project ideas to keep students creating throughout the school year.
As you are setting up your makerspace remember to plan with students, organize the space, decorate the space, and inspire students to make. Remember that the goal is to keep student interests in mind and to invite students to contribute to the set up process. Using these four makerspace set up tips will ensure that you are creating a space that is student-centered and student-driven.
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