Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Creating a Makerspace in the Elementary Media Center

     For the past two years I have wanted to create a Makerspace in the media center. While I don't technically have the "space" so to speak I decided to set up stations this week to make it happen. This week has been the most fun we have had in a while. I set up four stations for the students to rotate around, a Makey-Makey station, a Littlebits station, a Stikbot animation station, and a Chalkboard tabletop. This week I had 1st, 3rd, 5th, and a Life Skills class. Each class has left the media center all excited about the next time they will visit.  The collaborating and creating among the students made the journey to having a Makerspace well worth it. 
         The first station was the Makey-Makey.  The Makey-Makey website describes it as "an invention kit for the 21st century. You can turn everyday objects into touch pads and combine them with the Internet. It's a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between." This is a great way to get your students creating new ways to interact with the computer. To start off I created a piano out of paper, tinfoil, and duct tape. This was my way of introducing it to the students. We have explored playing PAC-man, the bongos, piano, and even created a human piano this week.The students are looking forward to next time when they are going to be able to explore other ways to control the computer.


        The next station was a Littlebits station.  According to the website, Littlebits allows students to create inventions with easy to use electronic building blocks. The students have enjoyed creating everything from a buzzer, siren, a light switch, and even a prank handshake today.  Littlebits is perfect for collaboration, and problem solving. If the circuit didn't work they quickly set about trying to  discover how to fix it. The exploration of circuits and electronics is a great way to show your students how engineering and technology go hand in hand.

         After exploring at these two stations students had a chance to go "old school" so to speak. I purchased a Chalkboard Tablecloth for my students to use to create responses to books or research in the media today. I took advantage of the fact that it is National Poetry Month and had the students to research on Wonderopolis "What is a haiku?" Then the groups had to work together to write their own.

        Our last station was the Stikbots station; where the students used a simple digital camera and Stikbots to create a stop animation movie. This is a station that will take a couple of weeks to finish. Today the fifth graders had the bots doing the "Whip and Nae", climbing up walls, and more.



           Needless to say the Makerspace was a big hit with both the students and myself. I am looking forward to watching the students create, design, collaborate, and problem solve their way through each station. I am also planning to add a craft making station as soon as I collect enough supplies.  If you have been considering starting a Makerspace in your media center/library I would strongly recommend it.


  1. Hi Angie! I love reading about how you created a Makerspace. I am also an elementary school library media specialist with a fixed schedule. My classes come to the library once each week for 40 minutes. Typically I teach a lesson, the students check out books, and then they choose a Library Learning Center to work in. The Library Learning Centers are my way of incorporating Makerspaces into our curriculum and schedule. They are mostly low tech (Legos, Drawing, Origami) since we don't have much technology at this point. I am thrilled to see that your number one priority is turning kids on to a love of reading. Mine too! We will soon be rewriting our curriculum to officially include STE(A)M. I would love to hear more about your journey in creating a Makerspace without forgetting about the wonderful joys and benefits of reading. What parts of your curriculum did you take out to make time for Makerspaces? Do classes still come on a fixed schedule? How often do students participate in the Makerspace? Every class? I would really love to learn anything you'd be willing to share with me. mrsdinthelibrary@gmail.com Thank you! Melissa

  2. Hey Melissa. Thank you for your interest. I just sent an email about my makerspace. I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you.