A MakerSpace exposes students to hands on projects, and kids are finding that the way they solve problems involves trying out solutions and innovative thinking.
At Southern Lehigh Middle School, there is a bank of project kits that students can choose from. They have a variety of projects from making bracelets to building robots, gravity maze games, and and replicas of historic places.
Students do the designs, conduct research, program the computers, and perform experiments so that the projects work.
“It’s changing the mindset. Let them figure it out,” said school librarian Corry Robbins, who runs the program with school technology coach Michael Paulings.
Programs such as the one at Lehigh grew out of the Maker Movement. The movement includes community spaces where people gather to create and share ideas. Hackers, inventors, hobbyists and do it yourself types meet together to make things, share ideas, and learn technology.
MakerSpace programs are seen as opportunities for students to recover from the emphasis on high stakes testing and make connections between learning, thinking, and doing.