MakerSpace Wonderland at Crossett Brook MS

The Story of MakerSpace: A Rabbit Interrupts a Drowsy Day

the story of a makerspaceThe story of MakerSpace at Crossett Brook Middle School begins with two bunnies. The bunnies lived outside the library in a hutch built by our Sustainability students who loved the bunnies. Winter was coming… the bunnies needed to move inside. The sad turn in this story is that the bunnies were not able to stay. Being in cages in the library with many daily visitors caused them stress. So, once I found a happy home for them and they moved out… poof!

A space was now available…an empty table…no books on it…no piles…what was possible?

Down the Rabbit Hole

How about a MakerSpace?

This jump down the tunnel has looked like this:

 

Sounded like this:

 

 

In Wonderland

While the MakerSpace has been growing taller, it has been most important to have student input. I have harnessed the energy of various student work groups for setting up the space, building wish lists for materials, and envisioning as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

A blog was created for students to edit with shares, posts and comments.

 

A Tea Party

This experience has felt a bit like a tea party with the March Hare, Dormouse and the Hatter. The students’ initial inclination to break things, “deconstruct” has led to discoveries and messes. In recognizing that this was a new cup of tea, I sought out guidance.

Art Studio

The first place I went was down the hall to Nan Hathaway’s Art Studio. Nan is a leader and mentor to many who seek learner-guided curriculum and choice-based art education. In striving for this studio experience in the library, I learned new ways to play a curious croquet game. Here is one example of how Nan has constructed a station that is user friendly with easy to follow signage, cleverly organized materials for use and reuse, and an approach that puts the students in control of their direction and pace. I have also learned from Nan the most essential Cheshire-Cat-with-wide-smile importance of insightful questioning and deep listening.

MIT Field Trip

The Generator in Burlington organized a field trip for Vermont educators to visit the Lemelson-MIT Inventeams maker space. What I learned there directly impacted the evolution of our maker space, as shown in the video below.

 

“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” (Lewis Carroll).

There are many possibilities swirling around for next steps:

  • CreateMakeLearn: thinking of going… thinking of bringing a teacher team… what about bringing student leaders?!?
  • Robot Programming: a way to tap into the power of our 7th and 8th graders.
  • Perhaps the next round of design will explicitly use a framework to consider how the MakerSpace can teach design and with what porpoise!? (Ed Note: Jen Hill is basically the best person ever.)
  • “Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance” with Questions, Learning and Doing that forms the MakerSpace?

What ways have you and your students grown between being trouble-makers and mess-makers and solution-makers? How have you traveled through the rabbit hole and come out on the other side?

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Jennifer Hill

As the librarian at Crossett Brook Middle School, Jennifer Hill has the pleasure of working and growing with a tremendous study body and staff. These people, these books, this learning is what it is all about! You will find Jen reading in the halls, finding rocks in the brook, watering her plants, and now – using a glue gun (first time ever!)

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