What's so great about a MakerSpace?
According to the website 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, or art supplies, you’re in business! It’s more of the maker mindset of creating something out of nothing and exploring your own interests that’s at the core of a MakerSpace. These spaces are also helping to prepare those who need critical 21st-century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (STEAM). They provide hands-on learning, help with critical thinking skills, and even boost self-confidence and collaboration. Some of the skills that are learned in a MakerSpace pertain to electronics, 3D printing, 3D modeling, coding, robotics, and even woodworking. MakerSpaces also foster entrepreneurship and are being utilized as incubators and accelerators for business startups. There have already been some amazing success stories that have come out of MakerSpaces to date."
The Design Thinking Process
Before Burton Street students embark on MakerSpace design challenges, it is important that they understand and practice each step of the Design Thinking Cycle. The purpose of introducing the children to this way of thinking is to remind them over and over again that MakerSpace and design challenges are all about understanding the needs of people who might be different from themselves, as well as understanding and defining their own needs clearly. We work on specific lessons for each step of the cycle before we touch any materials for designing. These lessons remind them that, no matter what the challenge may be, we always come back to empathy. We use the framework/sentence, "Somebody needs a way to do something because they want to feel a certain way", and we work through the cycle.