Creating a Makerspace
Understanding the Makerspace Movement
Over the past few years, Makerspaces have exploded in the education sector as the need for innovation and creativity within the school curriculum has increased. However, for many people they can be a difficult space to understand due to the significant variations in their use. Areas containing lego, arts and crafts, sewing machines, robotics or other forms of technology are all rather different. So what really is a Makerspace and how can you create one effectively in your classroom?
The space itself is designed and dedicated to hands-on creativity and may take the form of a workshop where young people gain practical experience with new and innovative technologies. These spaces encourage students to get creative, use idea generation and problem-solving to physically create a product.
“Wherever making happens is a Makerspace” Burke, John J, (2014)
Why have a Makerspace in your classroom?
As you begin to understand that a Makerspace isn’t limited or restricted to certain materials, it becomes easier to see how you could incorporate them into any classroom. They aren’t subject-specific, they are simply more about engaging and nurturing the creator mindset.
As children grow and develop they need to be able to engage in creative thinking, critical thinking and problem solving, all of which are linked to the ‘maker mindset’. So if you can begin to embed this kind of mindset into your students, you are teaching them valuable skills that can benefit them in the future.
Setting up a Makerspace in your school
When it comes to a Makerspace you don't have to have a brand new area in your school, they can be embedded into many existing spaces; a classroom, a library, a breakout area or an art room.
Do your research first, as this will allow you to understand exactly which areas you can work with to build your Makerspace vision. The internet, books and forums are a great place to start and will give you plenty of inspiration in creating your space.
Once you have your vision and plan in place, start by collecting tools, equipment, and materials. If you are budget conscious, it doesn’t have to mean sourcing high-tech tools or other expensive items. It can simply take the form of cardboard, boxes, old office materials, lego, old jars, popsicle sticks and other arts and crafts. The important thing to remember is that you want your students to be able to get creative and experimental in their ‘making’.
This is the teachers chance to think outside the box. One person's rubbish may be a young inventors gold!
Furniture to support your Makerspace
When choosing the furniture for your school Makerspace, keep in mind the importance of collaboration. The tables, chairs, and other furniture should be mobile and easily moved to create a flexible and accessible space. Try using a variety of table heights and workspace surfaces so that all student’s needs can be catered for. As well as seating and tables, storage is an important element to consider; make sure you have plenty of storage space for materials and projects that can be easily accessed.
Here at Scholar we have compiled a list of our top five most popular flexible furniture and storage recommendations, helping to make an inspirational Makerspace.
- Life Folding Table: the perfect table for your Makerspace. Lightweight and easy to move around, you can set the table up wherever you need it. Its durable and heavy-duty top makes it the perfect arts and crafts table as it is super easy to clean.
- Mobile Storage Unit: an ideal storage solution for your Makerspace, this unit will be fantastic for materials, crafts and storing projects while students are working on them. Available on castors, this unit is easy to move around the classroom.
- Mogoo Stool: a fun and active stool designed to fit into interactive spaces such as classrooms, labs, studios and creative areas. Mogoo allows users to tilt and swivel in all directions with its rounded base. The stool itself is lightweight and very easy to move around with a handling groove under the seat making it a great addition to your Makerspace.
Circle Table: a practical table for a Makerspace environment providing plenty of space for projects while also encouraging collaboration for group work. The circle table has sturdy legs and the useful option of a whiteboard top.
- Teaching Station: a mobile teaching station with wheels can be moved around the classroom for flexible learning. This unit comes with a choice of either a whiteboard, pinboard or book display feature, plus a storage unit making it a practical Makerspace option for both teachers and students. Use the pinboard or whiteboard as a planning tool for projects, or for outlining a project brief.
While furniture choices will be specific to each teacher and classroom, there is no right or wrong way to approach your Makerspace design. You will soon figure out what works and what doesn’t in your space by trying out different furniture, tools, equipment and materials. Remember, it’s all about experimentation.