Last week we went to Barrow Elementary for the first time this semester. I got a creative feel for the school right when I walked inside and saw all the different structures and colors. I wish I went there when I was little! We went into the media center where we discussed how the semester will go and various projects the children will be working on. Next, our group walked around to each “maker” to see their own personal challenge and excitement. Each of these projects are pretty vague, in which the student creates and molds the final piece as well as the directions to create it. They are all hands-on activities, some including technology and some being a craft. I’m very excited to see the creativity and intelligence of each “maker.”
Some cool maker ideas I saw in Barrow that day was duct tape pencil making, making remote controls out of play dough, 3D printing, and designing a building on an iPad. I can’t wait to go out and work with the children on February 9th with my group because they all seemed so excited to MAKE! I can see why children love maker spaces so much, especially after sitting at a desk and doing worksheets all day. The hands-on activities allow children to be the engineer and actually choose what and how to design an object. One thing I’m excited for this semester is seeing how the 3D printer works. It was my first time seeing one and it’s so fascinating! Technology supports maker spaces greatly, but it’s also interesting to see so many crafts handmade with no device. I want to find ideas and incorporate them in my future classroom or library.
A maker to me is an inventor who creates to understand, or learn. Each student at Barrow works through a project and as they try and try, they continue to learn and tweak the process. There is no one correct way because a maker invents his/hers own personal product, which might look different to someone else’s piece. In class yesterday we all defined the word “maker” and came up with it being hands-on, creative learning. Maker learning is vital to all, especially early childhood students, and it supports and encourages the children through any tough situation they might think they cannot solve.