Central Elementary Introduces New Makerspace

Posted on 12/09/2019
Students participate in marble run activity


Each week, students at Central Elementary have the chance to step away from their normal school schedule and jump into a world of creativity, imagination, and learning. Earlier this year, the school introduced a Makerspace where students can participate in a variety of STEM-related activities.

“It’s a place where they can come and be creative, use problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and have fun at the same time,” said Library Media Specialist Cara Shouse. After hearing about the idea at a conference, Shouse transformed Central’s old computer lab into the now popular innovation space.

Jayce holds up his smiling robotThe colorful room features a variety of activities including robots that can be coded to move around and change faces, as well as a circuit game where students can turn on lights and create fans. One popular activity is the marble run where students design a magnetic track that will transfer a marble from the top of a hill to the bottom. “I like trying to figure out how to get the hills steep enough to get the marble in the bucket,” shared one student.

“The students love the new space,” said Shouse. “It looks like a toy room, so they don’t realize all the learning that they are actually doing.” One kindergarten student, Jayce, enjoys playing at the robot station when he visits the Makerspace. When asked if he wanted to take a picture of him and his robot, he quickly ran over to the coding computer to make a change. He wanted his robot to be smiling for the picture.

While the Makerspace is a simple addition to the students’ week, the experience will be transformative as they get older. “These activities are going to help us in the future,” said one student. “When we go on to high school, our teacher may ask us to work on a class project. If we don’t have these skills to think outside the box, we won’t be able to get an A+.”

These important skills can prepare them for any challenge in life. Today, they may be coding a robot to smile, but twenty years from now, they could be designing a robot to perform a surgery. Challenge accepted!

 

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