Monday, December 10, 2012

Making a MakerSpace

Soft & Squishy Circuits
This past summer I decided that I wanted to create a "MakerSpace" at my school. I teach a Robotics after school program once a week, and was already planning to introduce some Arduino boards into the mix of Mindstorms RCX blocks that the students currently build with.
My experience with making and electronics is limited, but I love to learn new things and was extremely excited about my new Arduino I purchased and playing around with the different (and very basic) things I could do with it. I am also very fortunate to have colleagues and friends who do have experience and knowledge so I could also learn from them.
This fall I put together a basic Donor's Choose grant to purchase some basic supplies. I already had some supplies I could bring from home, a soldering iron, wires, tools etc. The first time you put together something with Donor's Choose you must use their suppliers. This posed a small problem at first when I realized that I couldn't include any Arduino or LilyPad electronics or kits. But I soon realized that I could order switches, motors, LEDS, tools, hot glue gun, safety glasses, solder, and create the foundation for our MakerSpace.
My favourite purchase was the long folding table. My classroom is a computer lab with tables that are not moveable and have computers permanently attached to them. The table is "our MakerSpace", we pull it out and place chairs around it and we have our work area. I even wrote The Computer School MakerSpace along the edges of it. It is a symbolic thing I guess.
My students have taken to "our space" very quickly. This post will be the start of a series of postings which will document our MakerSpace adventure.