Maker Space will make its debut at Osborn Elementary School at the end of the month.
By Sarah Varney
Maker Space will make its debut at Osborn Elementary School at the end of the month. It will be housed in one of the existing portable classrooms and will give students the opportunity to design and build solutions to a range of challenges.
The Maker Space movement has grown out of Maker Education, which believes that you can foster greater understanding of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) by providing children with building opportunities.
“The teachers understand the importance of the Common Core, but we’re also mindful of making learning fun,” said Osborn Principal Angela Garcia. The space, which is still in progress, can be used in many different ways. In June, Principal Garcia, along with several PTO presidents, toured a Maker Space at a Scarsdale school.
“Some schools use it as a kind of workshop — for sewing, arts, computer coding, and robotics. It’s the idea of using your hands to build something. It taps into different learning styles,” Principal Garcia added. She envisions three different stations in the classroom, each devoted to different activities.
Funds from the Osborn annual Scare Fair were donated to pay for converting the portable classroom to Maker Space. Installing shelving is the current project. Garcia added that donations of Lego blocks, hand tools, fabric, yarn, scissors, and hand tools from the Osborn School community would be greatly appreciated. (So if you’ve reached that crisis point in the playroom where you’re thinking your child will never outgrow his Lego, here’s your chance to get rid of some of it.) “Our biggest challenge is going to be materials, because we want the children to have the opportunity to try out ideas and many times those ideas won’t work and they’ll have to go back and try something else,” said Garcia.
Maker Space will be offered as an indoor recess option for up to 20 students and as an afterschool club, which fourth grade teacher Laura O’Leary will oversee. Teachers will be able to sign up to use the room during the school day via Google Docs.
Principal Garcia has reached out to the high school about having some of the robotics students come over and talk to Osborn students about building robots. She has also enlisted the help of the Rye Arts Center. PTO presidents Heather Cabot Khemlani and Jen Hoogstra have been involved with the project from the start.
While some teachers will immediately come up with ideas for incorporating the “making” component into their day, others will be able to rely on a set of laminated cards with projects. All of the activities will be in line with the Common Core, Garcia said. “We’re trying to foster collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking,” she said.
“Bash the Trash” is a good example of an activity ideally suited for Maker Space, according to the principal. On February 23, Bash the Trash, an environmental arts group founded in 1992, made a presentation at a school-wide assembly that culminated in students making their own instruments out of recycled trash that had been sifted through the day before. Afterwards, students, with instruments made from old garden hose, discarded storage tubes, and assorted other items, serenaded their teachers with music that sounded sweet and not at all trashy.