At the 2015 MACUL Makerspace I acquired my first taste of what it felt like to be in a “MakerZone” and wanted to bring that same feeling back to the students at Adrian Public Schools. That Monday after MACUL I began filling out grant applications and was awarded $1,500 from the Adrian Schools Educational Foundation. That fall I had 20 Young 5’s through 4th graders meet in the gymnasium for the first Lincoln Elementary Maker Club.
I started the club because I loved the playful and creative atmosphere of a Makerspace. A place where making, rather than consuming is the focus. Lincoln Elementary is a International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) school and having a Makerspace fit perfectly into their drive for transdisciplinary learning. Inquiry based learning, risk-taking, thinking, communication, well-balanced, open-minded, and reflective learner profile traits could be put to use.
Over the past two years Maker Club has become so much more than just an after school program. Yes, the Maker Club has given the students the materials to explore, create, and tinker but they truly have become a community. The students work together to take apart, build, produce, problem solve, and teach each other about tools and materials. At the end of our ten week club we hold a Family MakerNight. This is a night the Maker Club invites Lincoln families to participate in a open Makerspace. The students are in charge of running the Makerspace stations and spend the evening demonstrating, and helping others create and tinker with the materials.
Fast forward to this year’s planning for the the MACUL Makerspace. As a committee we decided we wanted to have students in the space. We felt that it would help bring the importance of a Makerspace home if educators could see students interacting, playing, creating, and teaching in the space, and boy did the students deliver!
Between the Maple Makers and Jennifer Bond’s 3rd grade students from Walled Lake Glengary Elementary we had a lot of demonstrating and creating going on that Friday of MACUL. It was so impressive to see the students teaching adults how to use tools and materials in the space. Students were learning how to solder and then turn around and teach others. I witnessed Maple Maker Griffin Jeffery at the paper circuits table working with an adult. When I asked him if he was showing her how to build a circuit, he said, “No, I am not really sure how to do this, but we are going to figure it out.” How awesome is that! Many MACUL attendees made comments to our chaperones, students, and volunteers how helpful, brave, communicative, fun, and compassionate the students were.
Which brings this all back to why I started the Maker Club. Kids do awesome things and when you allow them time and space with the materials to let their curiosity and imagination come to life teaching and learning will blossom for both the students and the teachers. I was so proud to share the students with the attendees at MACUL 2017. Thank you to all that stopped by and created, chatted, or learned from them. This experience was inspiring to the Maple Makers and hopefully inspired you.
If you would like to learn more about the Maple Makers you can check out our blog page http://apsmakers17.blogspot.com/ or contact Ann Smart.