Sunday, February 15, 2015

Makerspace Club Reflections

This past Monday we had Makerspace Club and WOW, did we have fun! For the entire hour, the 20 kids were excited, engaged, and inquisitive. Some kids jumped from one activity to the next, while others were so focused on what they were doing that they never left their initial activity.

In my research on Makerspaces I learned all about the materials to buy and the reasoning behind having one, but I still had to figure out how to design a club that would work for us with 20 kids and only a certain amount of materials.

Our club meets every Monday, and as of this post we've had two meetings. I decided to start each club meeting out with a group meeting. In our group meeting we go over the different resources available, watch a neat Maker video or two, and I introduce them to a new Maker material. Then the kids get to decide what it is that they want to experiment with. They often split off in groups of three or four and dive right in.

For Maker resources I received major guidance from Diana Rendina's site about Makerspaces. It is a great site to help you get started! I wrote about the current resources in our Makerspace here. At the first club meeting we went over all of the different resources that we have. About half of the kids in the club are kids who have been using the Makerspace regularly at lunch. These kids acted like guides in helping the other begin to experiment with things like the Makey Makey and the Little Bits Kit. By the second meeting, all of the kids were helping each other and jumping in without fear. It was such a great thing to see!

This past week we added in two more fun resources to our Makerspace club! I was able to get an old, broken computer tower for the kids to tear apart. For an extra fun challenge, they had to put it back together at the end. That made for some laughs as we all tried to remember what went where. By the end of the hour, they were able to completely take apart and put back together a computer (with the exception of a wire or two)! That is a pretty amazing accomplishment!

The second resource we added this week were many of the augmented reality apps that I wrote about in a previous post. They took turns watching the universe in 4-D and playing the fun Enchantium games! We talked about the variety of AR apps and I encouraged them to continue with them at home!

I've noticed that since starting the club, the Makerspace has gradually become more and more popular at lunch time too. It's been a great place for the kids to play around, build, and experiment. The best part is when they come to me with ideas for things they want to build next or tell me about what they've been making at home. I love seeing how the Makerspace grows and changes and all of the ways that the kids interact with it. I hope to be constantly adapting it to meet their interests and needs. One thing's for sure, I can't wait until our next Makerspace Club meeting!






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