Whenever a new maker lab opens in a middle school, students have new opportunities for experimentation and creativity. This year thanks to an $80,000 donation from Rotary of Sonoma Valley, Altimira Middle School opened up a new maker lab this year.
Students learn new technologies and how to use equipment in a maker lab, also called a maker space, which they do not have access to elsewhere. At Altimira, a certified maker teacher, Audrey Fry will be in charge of the room.
Fry has had specialized training in using various equipment and evaluating it for use. She will oversee a lab that has a 3D printer and a vinyl cutter. A laser cutter and desktop CNC production machine will arrive later this year. She expects that soon she will have computers available which will make physical projects using code, along with power and hand tools. The lab focuses on physical computing, technology for fabrication and electronics, and found and recycled crafts.
“Maker spaces provide a space for students to pursue their creativity while developing critical thinking and collaboration skills,” said Fry. “The ‘think, make, improve’ design process encourages students to persevere as they tinker with their designs to make them better and better. These skills – creativity, collaboration, communication, perseverance – combined with practical coding and design skills will help students be college and career ready.”