New makerspaces are used by students for troubleshooting problems, and the activities are engaging students to figure out how things work.
The makerspaces were added by the Iowa City Community School District. At South East Junior High School, students used Makey Makey kits which turn everyday objects when connected to a computer into touchpads. They also used a laptop, and handmade creations to build a circuit system for triggering sounds.
The school has an area of the library designated as a makerspace, a creative zone which is stocked with resources, gadgets, and supplies for creativity.
All Iowa City secondary school benefited from $40,000 provided by the Iowa City Community School District Foundation to equip makerspaces, encouraging hands on learning and creativity among students. Active learning and troubleshooting are a big part of what happens in makerspaces. In addition to the spaces, the district is linking students with creative people from the local community who will be “visiting makers.” The community involvement is through a partnership with the Iowa City Area development group.
According to teacher-librarian Chelsea Sims, the makerspace began a few years ago at South East, but had an upgrade in resources such as programmable robots connected to iPads which were purchased with money from the foundation.
“That kind of helped the students to delve a little deeper into the possibilities of the tools,” she said.