By December 2017, Maker VISTA member Claire Tiffany-Appleton was able to see the Lodestar Lab Makerspace come to life. At the start of the school year, this space was a once-per-week pop-up in the Learning Lab led by Ms. Ortiz, one of the Making, Art, & Design teachers. In that iteration, the Lab did not have adequate space for storing making consumables, so materials needed to be transported up and down stairs frequently. Additional problems followed: the space was only conducive to free making, not guided projects (Claire was also in the process of creating interactive, independent project kits, such as circuit blocks); Ms. Ortiz did not have enough time to run the space; and the activities created more noise than was manageable.
With these considerations in mind, Claire and the Lodestar team, with help from Aaron Vanderwerff of the Lighthouse Creativity Lab, went back to the drawing board to determine possible solutions. They identified a Lab teacher, Ms. Do, who would lead and maintain the makerspace. Throughout the past couple of months, Claire and Ms. Do discussed goals, expectations, and learning targets of the improved makerspace. They landed upon the following structure: one space for free making (Maker’s Space) and one for exploring the project kits (Tinkering Station); the materials would be stored in the Learning Lab but transported to the MPR (a donated storage cart was key in this step); and at least two groups of about 25 students would be able to participate per day.
In recent weeks, Claire and Ms. Do got the Lodestar Maker’s Space and Tinkering Station up and running. Students are excited to come into the space and get building, and Claire has been able to introduce a few of the interactive kits (circuit blocks, Pro-Bots, and scribble machines). There will always be areas to improve upon, but right now this space is working — students are expressing creativity while learning about new concepts.
Claire and fellow Maker VISTA member Anna Milada Grossi have found these tools or resources essential this month: