5 Fundamental Ways to Launching A Sensational MakerSpace

After finding out what a Makerspace is and why EVERY classroom needs one and then being inspired by seven inspirational Makerspace Boards on Pinterest, I bet you are dying to try your own. If you need a little refresher on the what and why be sure to check out the two previous posts before we get started.

Makerspaces don’t have to be in a Media Center. They are great in a classroom whether that is a traditional space or a homeschool classroom. Since a Makerspace merely is a place to create, build, wonder, and discover it can be just about ANYWHERE! That’s the good news. So in this week’s post, I want to show you five Fundamental Ways to Launching A Sensational Makerspace.

5 Fundamental Ways to Launching A Sensational Makerspace

1 Immerse Yourself in Maker Education

I shared some significant resources in my post, Five reasons Every Classroom Deserves a MakerSpace. Getting involved in the Maker world helps you build your own. 

“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.

Getting involved in the Makerspace movement allows you to see why it is so crucial for our children. It provides creative discovery experiences. It also allows us to think about how this might play out in our spaces. 

Check out my post if you want more research and more advice from experts who have been implementing Makerspaces for years. (I had only hopped on board a few years ago. But I am 100% sold, and I do believe that it should be part of the grassroots movement that education needs so desperately. My favorite resource is still the Makerspace Playbook.  There are several pdf versions available for FREE. Google will become your new BFF (if it isn’t already). 

2 Find the Right Space

Here comes the section that often overwhelms us- finding the right space. But I don’t want you to get frustrated. Starting super simple is okay. In fact, I recommend that you do so. (Even though I don’t tend to take my own advice very well even when I need to!) When I decided to transform my media center, I had big plans! The transformation included adding a Makerspace. The Makerspace section was one of my favorite parts. (Although, the entire Media Center had to be redone, so it was a smidge overwhelming. LOL If I had started out simple, it might not have been quite so aggravating.)

The bottom line of where to choose a space is you can set up a Makerspace ANYWHERE! Makerspaces can be permanent or temporary. They can be on tables, carts, in crates, in the corner, on the floor, or even outside. Wherever kids gather and want to design, discover, and create. It is that SIMPLE. Whether you already have space, know what area you can adapt, or have yet to find it, Your SPACE is out there. 

I know for me, I love DIY projects (remember the barn door- haha still haven’t done that yet!). I’m also a HUGE fan of HGTV’s Fixer Upper (which is finishing this season, but I’m sure it won’t be the last time we see Chip and Joanna!) Either way, this part was fun for me. I could imagine a new possibility in the spaces I was seeking out. 

If transforming a space is NOT your thing or let’s be honest, you don’t have time, that is okay too. It can be on a cart or in crates. (You can find cheap crates at the Dollar Store.) 

Think of how many places in your classroom, media center or home await discovery and transformation! The possibilities of spaces and what they might become are exciting. FYI- It can even be a closet. 

Use your investigating skills and a little creativity, and you’ve got this! More ideas for spaces coming soon! {If you have a great solution to where, please share in the comments. I love teaching and learning together!}

3 Tools and Materials

“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

"While children have an innate ability to see the creative potential in just about anything, introducing new materials and tools can enable empowering experiences. That said, there’s no denying that the materials and tools aspect of Makerspaces can be daunting. The tendency to focus on what you don’t have and what you think you need is especially common." The MakerSpace Playbook

So once again- ANYTHING GOES! Your tools may be very simple or more complex depending upon your goal for your space or making activity. Here is a generic list that I used to set up my space.

Tools for Makerspaces can include technology, too! It can be any coding activity or iPads with designing apps and more. Circuit snaps are fun or even LED lights. It doesn’t have to be a big fancy 3-D printer. (Although, it can be!) 

Any suggestions you want to add? Share in the comments. We will be focusing more on materials in the future. Here is a list to get you started. Remember it is just a jumping off point. 

4 Get Others Involved

Getting others involved can be helpful. Brainstorming with fellow teachers or homeschool parents is a great way to cover all of your basis and to inspire synergy! If you are interested in joining my private MakerSpace FaceBook Group, make your way over so we can continue the discussion. 

You can also start a group, club, or committee for your Makerspace by involving all interested people- even the kids! Include the group in purchasing decisions, goal setting, workshop ideas, and researching other Makerspace programs. Learn from others! Reaching out on platforms like Facebook or Google Hangouts makes collaboration come to life. {And if you are a teacher or a media specialist this is a great way to extend your reach globally- can you say Highly Effective!}

If you know of a compelling group on Makerspace, let me know in the comments. More to come on getting involved. 

5 Build a Community of Makers and Tie it to Standards 

Immersing your students in maker activities motivates them to create. Tying maker challenges to standards allow them to learn in a unique discovery type manner. {It also gets admin off your back when they walk through and think you are having too much fun. (Is there any such thing when you are learning?!} 

I have been working on a new line of products called MakerSpace Moments in Literature. Since I love both literature and Makerspace, this was a merging of two passions. I also wanted to bring in books and stories to the whole STEM and Maker aspect. Don’t get me wrong science, technology, engineering, and math are critical, but so is literature! Each MakerSpace Moment in Literature is based on an easy to find storybook that presents a problem in the text. The first thing we do is some compelling close reading activities- like a look at vocabulary, or questions from the story, analyzing point of view and more. Then students are given supplies or tools and allowed to create anything that may solve the problem. They develop a design plan and then build. There is even a chance to share and collaborate by comparing and contrasting presentations or share-outs after the project is complete. The projects are so fun! I have had some excellent feedback on the MakerSpace Moments in Literature. (To see for yourself, sign up below for my MakerSpace Moment in Literature FREEBIE.) 

Either way, inspiring kids to learn and think is what a Makerspace is all about. Let me know in the comments how you are feeling about implementing your own Makerspace. Next time we will take a closer look at space, tools and materials. 

Until next time...

Happy Teaching and Learning


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