Trina Deboree
Teaching and Learning

Teaching and Learning

5 Astonishing Reasons Every Classroom Needs a MakerSpace

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Makerspace is a rapidly growing trend in schools across the country, and it is taking education by storm. Most Makerspaces can exist in Media Centers or Libraries. However, I don’t feel it should be limited to these areas in a school. Although, I think they are awesome in the Media Center, why not have one in every classroom?

Having just come out of the primary classroom after 17 years, I decided to give being a Media Specialist a try. The first thing I did was research how to make a Media Center come alive. Needless to say, my new Media Center was anything but NEW! It was a disaster, and it needed a 911 makeover. 

After cleaning up A LOT, I began to find information on how to implement things that brought my kids in and kept them there. The first thing I tried was a chalk table. So much fun! (You can catch a quick glimpse of the chalk table in the video.) Next came the crafting of a Makerspace. I found incorporating a Makerspace to be an astonishing addition. Keep reading to find out why you too should consider designing a Makerspace in your classroom or Media Center. 

happy children building robots at robotics school

What is a Makerspace?

So this is when you might be thinking “What is a Makerspace?”
A Makerspace is a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials. In a nutshell, it is an astonishing place to think and learn!

The thing I love most about a Makerspace is it can be anything. There are no limits only possibilities. It is an environment that is only restricted by one’s imagination. It is a wonder of discovery. In my Media Center, it brought kids in. That was my initial goal- just to get them there and want to be there! I wanted them to see that this place in their school was built for them- to read, to learn, to think, to be protected, nourished, and loved. A place to celebrate all types of learners. That is the beauty of a Makerspace. It takes every subject and brings it to life.  

One of my favorite quotes from research on Makerspace-

Makerspaces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all serve as a gathering point for tools, projects, mentors, and expertise. A collection of tools does not define a Makerspace. Rather, we define it by what it enables: Making.
— The Makerspace Playbook

So really, anything goes. More to come on ideas, materials, and organization for Makerspaces, because this is a topic in which I could go on and on. 

Having seen the power of a Makerspace in a Media Center, I think it can easily be converted into the classroom and should be. With all the educational mandates and expectations, kids still need time to create, wonder and discover. 

5 Astonishing Reasons Every Classroom Needs a MakerSpace

1. Makerspace Inspires Creativity

“The most important quality of a makerspace is that it encourages creativity. This can be done with a space full of hand tools, materials, and finished projects. The culture in a space should support the idea that anything is possible.” 3 Key Qualities for a School Makerspace

Anything goes in a Makerspace. Kids can create with just about any type of material. Being creative allows kids to think of new ideas and different possibilities

2. Makerspace Encourages Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

I feel like this happens by accident. I love moments when kids are learning, and they don’t even realize it! Yes, metacognitive thinking is vital, but sometimes you have to hook them. Makerspaces do that. They draw kids in. Kids want to think critically, and problem solve. They love being challenged when it feels like play

3. Makerspace Provides Hands-On Learning

“A Makerspace is a metaphor for a unique learning environment that encourages tinkering, play and open-ended exploration for all” ~Laura Fleming, author of Worlds of Making

Makerspace mixes all aspects of STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and sprinkles it with hands-on experiences, imagination, and discovery. It truly can be engaging to the senses.

The beauty of encouraging hands-on learning is how this style of learning is so impactful for children who think outside of the box. When you bring Literature into the mix, you can also capture all learning styles and topics

“Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering, and tinkering.” Jennifer Cooper, Designing a School Makerspace (Edutopia)

4. Makerspace Motivates Reluctant Learners

Motivating children who don't love to learn is one of my favorite reasons for why classrooms deserve to have a Makerspace. Children have become reluctant learners. Their natural curiosity makes them a lover of learning. Yet, sometimes this love is stifled in the way in which learning is presented and assessed. We are finding more and more that kids are avoiding school. If you want to read more about my thoughts about education, be sure to read A Letter To My Daughter: How An Education System and I Let Her Down

“What do you do in a Makerspace? The simple answer is you make things. Things in which you are curious. Things that spring from your imagination that inspire you. The informal, playful atmosphere allows learning to unfold, rather than conform to a rigid agenda. Making, rather than consuming is the focus. It is the craft, engineering, technology, and wonder-driven.” Thinkers and Tinkerers

5. Makerspace Fosters Collaboration

“Makerspaces are collaborative learning environments where people come together to share materials and learn new skills… [they] are not necessarily born out of a specific set of materials or spaces, but rather a mindset of community partnership, collaboration, and creation.” Library as Incubator Project

The beauty in a Makerspace is we move away from competition and move more to collaboration. Societies thrive on collaboration. We are constantly putting kids in situations where they are competing. Why not take a closer look at how kids think, learn, and live? Makerspace is a powerful catalyst for synergy

Learning by doing, creating, collaborating, and hands-on discovery such as in a Makerspace is just one step closer to making education personal for the people in it. It captures all types of learners even our most reluctant. Makerspace is a way to customize education to the needs of our students.

Did you find this information helpful? Click like and let me know what you learned in the comments. Want more specifics on Makerspace? Be sure to subscribe to my site for more to come. We will be talking about ideas and organization for Makerspace. Have some ideas? Share in the comments. I would love to hear about how you are using Makerspaces in your classroom or Media Center.

Until next time, Happy Teaching and Learning!