Maker Education - #makerspace
According to the US Department of Education, only 16 percent of American High School Seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Furthermore, only half of the schools who pursue a college major in a STEM field choose to work in a related career. As a nation, we are falling behind internationally, ranking 25th in math and 17th in science among industrialized nations. ( www.ed.gov/stem)
Closer to home, staff and administrators at Sigler Elementary see the challenges students face in math and science first hand and work tirelessly to fill in gaps that exist in our high socio-economic community and simultaneously, keep high expectations for students to be grade level proficient.
To overcome this trend, students must be invested in hands on, problem based learning, that supports inquiry and student engagement. Students are engaged when they “devote substantial time and effort to a task, when they care about the quality of their work, and when they commit themselves because the work seems to have significance beyond its personal instrumental value” (Newmann, 1986, p. 242).
Our program, Maker Education - Makerspace does just that. By transforming a portion of our current library, we create a Makerspace. A space for students to create, problem solve, tinker and make. A makerspace is not solely a science lab, woodshop, computer lab or art room, but it may contain elements found in all of these familiar spaces. Therefore, it must be designed to accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials. Diversity and cross-pollination of activities are critical to the design, making and exploration process, and they are what set makerspaces and STEAM labs apart from single-use spaces.
Increasing student engagement as defined above, providing authentic learning opportunities that draw from student's backgrounds, interests and academic needs while fostering a spirit of collaboration allows the students and staff at Sigler Elementary to do their part to increase the interest in STEM education and spark an interest among students in an area where little interest currently exists.
A possible range of activities might include:
Building bicycles and kinetic machines
Textiles and sewing
For more information on Elementary Makerspaces, please use the link below:
With your support, Sigler Elementary will transform their library into a 21st Century Makerspace inspiring students and teachers to collaborate and MAKE!
Check out our story!
How Our Space Became a Makerspace