Maker Spaces are opening up in elementary schools in Bellingham, Washington.
Students can test ideas and problem solving strategies as they collaborate in maker spaces. School officials find that maker spaces help students learn to build and create.
At South Elementary Schools, third graders were planning a new bridge. They needed to build a bridge that spanned eight inches between two chairs using Popsicle sticks, clothespins, and binder clips. The bridge had two withstand the weight of 37 books and two plastic dinosaurs before collapsing.
According to principal Judith Lamarre, the space was funded by a Bellingham Educational Foundation grant. A spare classroom was the room devoted for the project.
“It’s a place where they can explore, where they can use their engineering skills and where they can realize failure is OK – it doesn’t always have to work the first time,” she said. “It’s been a great, great experience.”
With class rotation, all classes have used the space at least once so far. The objective is for each class to visit the space once or twice a month.
“It’s an opportunity for them to think differently, to struggle and to strategize other options if their first attempt doesn’t work,” said Superintendent Peter Marano.