MakerSpace: Early Steps

DISCLAIMER: I continue to be amazed by the unending support that our school PAC (parent advisory committee) offers our students and staff. Without question, a strong and supportive PAC can have a profound effect on the learning in our school.

With the recent implementation of the new British Columbia K-9 curriculum the need to address the Applied Design Skills and Technology core competences has come to the forefront of learning in our province. Once again this fall, our PAC has shown its support of students and teachers. 

Before offering to fund a request last year for a makerspace-in-a-cart ($3800 USD), the PAC responded with important questions:

What do we exactly get for $4000?

Will the tools and materials in the out of the box tool actually help teachers and students in supporting learning?

Is there a cheaper way we can get the same ‘bang for our buck’?

After a lengthy discussion, the PAC made a counter offer to cap funding for the project at $5000 (CAN). The group of passionate individuals also decided that it would consult extensively with the school and work to build something that would be both cost-effective and meet the specific needs of the newly launched MakerSpace Lifelong Learning program. 

The result?

We collaborated to create a highly customized makerspace cart (on wheels!), associated shelving space in the library, and a variety of tools and materials. 

The added bonus? 

Several PAC members built, installed, and organized the tools of all pieces of the installation. (This project has gone two generations deep to include grandparents!)

We are still in the early stages of what I hope will be a school-wide program (that’s my dream going forward) and our students are using the tools and materials in limited ways. More time and energy will be required to design and implement relevant and effective projects for our students to tackle including tying in design thinking skills across the curriculum. 

It is a work in progress, but it is also worthy labour of love.

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