So, you’ve decided a makerspace might be something that your school could get behind. Great! Following are the steps to set up your school’s very own innovation station.
1. Find your space
Your first step to starting a maker at your school is to establish the right space. This might be in the library or somewhere where there is adequate lighting, power and table space. You will also have to take into consideration the type of activities your students will be doing at your makerspace. The library might not be an appropriate place for “dirty” projects such as woodworking.
2. Gather supplies
You may be thinking “my school can’t afford a makerspace”, but makerspaces can be created on any budget. You can start off with the simplest tools and resources. For example, Meadow Elementary School invited every student to bring in a ziplock bag containing resources that they thought could be used in their makerspace. They were amazed by the amount and variety of supplies that came in. There was everything from Lego blocks to a random bolt. Read more about it here.
If you’re looking to scale up your operations, there are plenty of ways to acquire resources and funds. Partnerships with local businesses could be an opening to valuable resources and maybe even donations. Building these partnerships is also a great way to gain knowledge and expertise from members of your community that might be able to help you out along the way – don’t be afraid to make friends.
Make sure you do a test run of projects yourself before setting the students to do them. There are obvious safety concerns with using tools, especially when there is power involved. By doing a trial run you will be able to identify any concerns or bugs with a project and alter your approach accordingly.
4. Start making!
The potential for innovation and students to display their natural creativity in makerspaces is boundless. Let them start to tinker and things will progress naturally from there.