I am Dottie Smay, the lower school “maker media specialist” at Shorecrest Preparatory School and along with Courtney Walker we created a school wide maker space in our ECC-grade 12 media center. We have had many visitors come to see our Makerspace and one of the main questions they have is what would they need to get started. Since there are a variety of materials that could be found in a makerspace, we always say to save everything you would naturally throw out. Seriously, empty plastic cantainers could be used to house some of the materials in your makerspace. I have seen projects made with shoe boxes and empty tissue boxes in conjunction with the 3D printer. So really anything and everything goes.
During our summer camp one of our students made a candy dispenser machine using Legos and LittleBits together. Creativity takes place when students see the individual tools like MakeyMake and squishy circuits and design their project using some of these tools for the next level of learning. Conductive ink, conductive paint, conductive thread, conductive tape, and circuit stickers are some other suggestions to have in a makerspace. The Hummingbird Robotics Kit, Squishy Circuit set, 3D doodler, perler beads, clay, paint, K’NEX, Maker CircuitScribe Kit, ProtoSnap-LilyPad E-Sewing Kits, Qubits, Electronic Snap Kit, Electronic Playground 130 & Learning Center, Adafruit puppets (LED, 555 TIMER CHIP,TRANSISTOR, RESISTOR), cotton balls, string, balloons, feathers, cardboard of various shapes and sizes, duct tape, washi tape, masking tape, electric tape, rubber bands, clay, paint, foam board, felt, fabric, plastic balls, straws, pipe cleaners, computer keys (from discarded computers), styrofoam of any kind, feathers, empty cardboard tubes, old jewelry, and picture frames, etc. are just some of the various items to add. There is no perfect list since anything can be repurposed or upcycled. Keeping materials organized in clear storage containers and labeled is highly recommended. This not only assists students while they use materials and clean up, but also helps keep the makerspace organized. Remember it should be a variety of low, medium, and high tech tools to inspire all ages and levels of creativity and design.
I have also collected lots of resources both for professional use and student use that stay in our maker space. Books with duct tape projects, Lego designs, paper airplane books, etc. to sets of books geared to the 21st century skills we are striving to attain. Follett has a series entitled 21st Century Skills Innovation Library: Makers as innovators. Titles include:
PowerKids press has a set entitled Maker Kids for grades 3-6 with High-Tech DIY Projects including 3D printing, robotics, musical instruments, microcontrollers, flying objects, electronic, sensors, and LED’s. Rosen has a set entitled Makerspaces for grades 6-12 with titles including Getting the most our of makerspaces to explore arduino & electronics, to build robots, to make musical instruments, to go from idea to market, to create with 3D printers, and to build unmanned aerial vehicles. In addition to the professional book Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager there is The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun by Josh Burker with classroom technology projects. I am sure you have heard of Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show, a YouTube show to encourage tinkerers of all agers to go out there and make something. So we have her book entitled Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Project Book Volume 2 – Super Simple Arduino! by “Super-Awesome” Sylvia. By the way, there is no volume 1, in case you were wondering. The Maker Cookbook, School Library Makerspaces, The Makerspace Workbench, Think Tank Library, The Repurposed Library, and Tinkerlab (a hands on guide for little inventors are additional sources for all ages and interest levels. Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom Kelley is another professional resource we keep in our makerspace to remind all of us that we are all born with creativity. We just need to spend more time exploring our talents and a makerspace is the perfect place to achieve this. Hopefully, these resources will help our students and teachers, beginning at any level, flourish into our future “makers” of the world.