The Makerspace movement has been gaining much traction over the past few years, popping up within schools, libraries, and other programs throughout the country. After hearing the term in many places, I knew it had something to do with inventing and creating things, but I couldn’t quite figure out what exactly a makerspace was. So if any of you are still wondering (like I was!), here is the definition according to Makerspaces.com:
“A makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools. These spaces are open to kids, adults, and entrepreneurs and have a variety of maker equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters, cnc machines, soldering irons and even sewing machines. A makerspace however doesn’t need to include all of these machines or even any of them to be considered a makerspace. If you have cardboard, legos and art supplies you’re in business.”
In a makerspace, students are free to tinker, explore, and create. In this dynamic, collaborative, and supportive environment, students organically develop a ‘makerspace mindset’ as they develop, sharpen, and refine critical 21st Century skills. Students are empowered to try new things, learn from failures, explore personal interests, and unleash their creativity.
In addition to 21st Century skills, makerspaces spaces are also helping to prepare future workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Because makerspaces provide hands-on inquiry based learning, students authentically develop critical thinking, logic, reasoning, leadership, and self-direction skills.
So how do you incorporate all these higher order thinking skills, 21st century learning, and STEM exploration into a box? Easy! Make a “box of possibilities”. Here’s how to do it:
Box of Possibilities Directions:
1. Get a decent sized Tupperware box.
2. Whenever you have scraps and trash (nonfood) both at home or at school, put them in the box of possibilities.
3. When a dose of creativity and innovation is needed, simply open the box to create a instant makerspace within your home or classroom!
Within a week, the box of possibilities in my classroom had several screws, bobby pins, cut up paper, crayons, broken scissors, a few plastic toys, and much more! I used the Box of Possibilities in many ways, such as an option for early finishers, within an enrichment club I led, and as part of engineering-based lessons. With a Box of Possibilities, the possibilities to empower your students (or yourself!) to engage and explore STEM is pretty much endless!