April 30, 2016

Suggested Items & Products for a Makerspace

Following my previous post regarding why makerspaces are important, where makerspaces can implemented in schools, and how makerspaces can operate, I’m now going to discuss items to include in a makerspace.  There are items I recommend starting with (both donated and purchased), and items I suggest acquiring once your makerspace is up and running.

If you’d like to start a makerspace in your building but don’t have any funds to do so, you can ask for donations.  I truly believe that a makerspace it really more of a mindset than an actual space.  A makerspace involves students exploring, designing, problem solving, and collaborating.  This can be done with a short list of very basic items.  One way to collection items is through a Donors Choose campaign, were you can collect funds to purchase items.  When we started the makerspaces in my two buildings, we asked parents to donate from a list of suggested items.  Here is a list of items in particular that we asked for:
  • Duct Tape
  • Scotch Tape
  • Masking Tape
  • Foil
  • String
  • Ribbon
  • Yarn
  • Fabric
  • Toilet paper and paper towel rolls
  • Old toys to take apart
  • Screwdrivers
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Origami Paper
  • Construction Paper
  • Straws
  • Balloons
  • Empty water bottle
  • Water bottle and pop caps
  • Cardstock
  • Pencils
  • Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Toothpicks
  • Egg Cartons
  • Play Doh
  • School glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sewing supplies (sewing machine, thread, looms, needles)
  • Perler Beads (and iron)
  • Scissors 
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Dixie cups
  • Paper Plates
  • Newspapers
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • rubber bands
  • Plastic storage contianers
  • Ziploc Bags (sandwish & gallon)
  • Marbles
  • Cardboard
  • Cardboard connectors
  • Batteries (AA & AAA)
  • Cotton Balls
  • Cupcake liners
  • Coffee filters
  • Paint & Paintbrushes
In the end, we received donations for many of the items listed above and purchased any items we did not receive.  As supplies run low throughout the school year, we either buy what is needed or ask parents to donate from a short list of requested items.

If you have funds to start your makerspace, I have suggestions for starter products to buy.  The market for STEAM and makerspace items is vast.  Below is a list of affordable items I suggest purchasing to get your makerspace up and running.  For my two buildings, these items are perfect for students in grades K-5:
  • Keva Planks
  • Snap Circuits
  • Ozobots
  • Marble Mazes (both plastic & wood)
  • Legos
  • Knex
  • Makey Makey
If you’re lucky enough to have extra funds or you’re ready to expand your makerspace beyond these items, I have suggestions of products to purchase.  These items are on the pricey side, but they are certain to extend the learning taking place in a makerspace setting.  Remember, you can always do a Donors Choose to raise funds to purchase expensive products.  Additional items I suggest purchasing for your makerspace are:
  • Computers/Laptops & iPads
  • 3D Printer
  • 3D Scanner
  • Sphero
  • Little Bits
  • Hummingbird
  • Lego WeDo
  • Lego Mindstorms
  • Lego Technics
  • Dash & Dot
  • Bee Bot
  • Makedo Items
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Arduino
  • Squishy Circuits
  • Cubelets
No matter what items your makerspace has, remember that the focus is on student learning.  Students can think critically, inquire, test, collaborate, design, and create with many items or just a few (in fact, limited resources challenges students to adapt and problem solve).  Start with donated items and build to purchased materials, both cheap and expensive.  

Please stay tuned for my next blog post on makerspace kits you can easily make with very little money.  Instead of buying learning products, make them!  I’ll show how students can create their own doodlebot, flashlight, bristlebot, three-wheeled car, and a water bottle balloon car. 

No comments:

Post a Comment