Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Low-Tech Mobile Makerspace

Now that the Makerspace has been rockin' and rollin' since December, I've had some great feedback from the students as well as my administration!

So what do I mean by "low tech?"  Well, I took a webinar through School Library Journal and realized that I didn't need the 3D printer or laser cutter, chrome books, and all those other nifty things they have at the high school and other makerspaces.  What seemed to be lacking in education today was more "hands-on" crafty and imaginative play!  So with my second rotation of stations, I feel a bit more confident in the direction it's taking.

Now, we are not without technology.  I have 4 desktop computers in the library, as well as 9 iPads and 9 Kindle Fires (we use them for tablets more than for reading).  However, I am finding that some of our "dig in and get your hands dirty" (so to speak) have been the most popular.

I have modeled our stations after "STEAM-R" (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math/Music, and Reading).  In December, the stations were:

Science:  magnet exploration.  I set out different types of magnets, books about magnets, magnetic mazes, a variety of items that students could find if they were magnetic or not, and suggestion cards on other activities they could do with the magnets.

Technology/Engineering:  I did a VERY popular station students are still asking about, so it will need to resurface this year!  This was our "take apart" station, where students took apart a number of items to see how they worked (things I had picked up from Goodwill and other donations) including phones, cameras, and a tape player.  I had students save all the parts so that we could use the station again to make things out of those parts!  Students were fascinated looking inside and of course, just the taking apart itself!  I also offered a "Jenga" station as well for Engineering.

Art:  I offered several in this station, including "stamp your own bookmark", drawing (providing several drawing books we have here in the library), and weaving.  I found the idea on Pinterest to make cardboard looms and ordered plastic needles from Oriental Trading.  The weaving was a HUGE hit and I think I made about 100 different looms!  They're not hard to make and string, so the many went home (and still have not been returned) are not an overall huge concern of mine.  Some students keep me updated on how it's going and others simply return the looms and needles.  (I told students I'd rather have needles back and they could keep the looms!).  I had some yarn and got a huge donation from our art teacher, which was awesome!

Math:  I decided to play with the "M" and some months offer "math" and other months offer "music."  For this first rotation, I put out pattern blocks and tangrams, along with some suggestion cards, for students to play with.  It wasn't so long ago I was a classroom teacher and I know how much fun students had with pattern blocks!  There were several interesting designs and structures I saw out of these during the month!

Reading:  "Create A Character":  I put suggested books out, such as fairy tales, wimpy kid, etc. for students, as well as a huge box of art scraps and toilet paper tubes.  Students were to create a character (using the tube as a base) and boy, did I see some original characters!

You can see a lot of the activity below!

For my January/February rotation (because of weather and our STEM lab, which takes 3 weeks away from our library rotation), I changed stations and students are even more impressed!  I want to find some time in the morning that students can come in, but our day starts so early, I'm not sure if it will be possible!  I'll be sure to take some pictures of our current stations, which includes Legos, Little Bits, Coding/Hour of Code, chess, and viewmasters!


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