By Elizabeth Wroten
Notes From the Makerspace: Resources
On 06, Nov 2014 | In Redux | By Elizabeth Wroten
Below are a few resources you might find helpful in creating and maintaining a makerspace. I think I’ll add to this as I go along because I imagine I will come across more and more sites, ideas, and articles that will be worthwhile.
Makerspace Playbook: This is an awesome publication from Make Magazine’s makerspace arm. It will give you lists of supplies to consider, space considerations, set up considerations, etc. I read this when we were first doing planning and found it invaluable even if our makerspace ins’t run or structured exactly like the one they create in the playbook. Okay, so here’s where this gets hairy. Here is the link to request a free copy of the Playbook. When we were getting started a year ago I just printed it out from somewhere and here is a link to the pdf to print or save. I don’t know why I can’t find where to simply download a copy instead of requesting they send you one. I did find a direct link to the pdf, though, but am not sure if this is totally kosher to post it. I will, but if anyone thinks it’s unethical let me know.
Also check out the Makerspace Education Initiative. They have great resources.
I also highly recommend the book Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert if you are creating a makerspace for younger students. The learning space this book helps you create is essentially a makerspace. She also has great advice about how to help kids bring their own interests to the learning space and how not to step on their ideas or thinking.
I cannot encourage you enough to look into the Reggio Emilia approach to education. They are essentially the maker movement for kids (although they started right after WWII in Italy, long before the hipsters). Some of the core principles of a Reggio education are: student-/interest-led projects and learning, a belief in the capability of kids, the One Hundred Languages (which are essentially any media or material kids use to make their learning visible), detailed documentation of what students are doing that makes their thinking visible, provocations or set-ups that are thoughtfully created to entice children to play with them and tie in with some aspect of what they are learning about, and the environment as the third teacher (so the importance of setting up the learning space). If you want books I suggest Project-Based Homeschooling because this is closest to creating a makerspace (as opposed to an ECE classroom). There are a lot of great blogs out there, but for a good mix of pedagogy and projects (so that you aren’t stuck with tons of ideas for preschool art projects) try The Curious Kindergarten, Miss Reggio, and TransformED.
Diy.org: diy.org is a makerspace resource that gives out digital badges for mastery of a huge variety of hobbies. I would say you could use this as a curriculum of sorts. There are certainly tons and tons of choices for topics and activities here.
Ideas & Inspiration
The Show Me Librarian Makerspace post: Amy Koester, the Show Me Librarian, is all about STEAM programming in her library. She has tons of fabulous ideas and she supports making. This particular post pulls together a treasure trove of makerspace resources.
Wonderopolis: an awesome site that features a “wonder-why” style question every day which it goes on to answer.
Make: The website for the magazine. Has a HUGE selection of projects with step-by-step guides. They also have a store for purchasing supplies. It can’t hurt to have a couple copies of the magazine out in the makerspace for inspiration either.
How To Smile: Here’s a fantastic website that was put together by children’s science museums around the country (including the Exploratorium). The site features tons of STEM projects and experiments. It’s organized around various topics such as chemistry, math, energy, etc. It also has badges and points you can earn if you are so inclined.