A Journey Through Technology

Week 6: What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

on June 23, 2017

I have been contemplating how a chemistry maker space would look since the concept was first introduced to me last year. The idea of a tech maker space is very appealing to me, but I don’t know how it would apply to chemistry, so the first thing I need to decide is what kind of making space would be a good fit in my classroom. “The best way to activate your classroom is for your students to make something. This…might take the form of costumes for a historical reenactment, homemade math manipulatives, a new curtain for the local auditorium, toys, a pet habitat, a messy science experiment, or a zillion other things.” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle Location 1935) The passage got me thinking that maybe I don’t have to have a high-tech maker space in my classroom.

We do labs in chemistry often, but I would have to redesign them to fit more of a maker space model, and the supplies wouldn’t be much different than what I normal provide students with. The maker project that was inspired through week 4 might just be a good starting place. The idea from week 4 was to have students design and create, using a maker space, their interpretation of an element. This goes well with a project I’ve assigned in the past called Adopt-an-Element, where students pick an element and research a variety of properties and then present it. Adding a maker space to this would give students many more options in how the present their project to the class. So, what kinds of materials would students need to have available for their element interpretation?

According to a “Makerspace in a Box” List by Hlubinka (2013) there are two main categories for maker space materials: reusable tools and consumable materials. I think the goal would be to have as many materials as possible for students to use, but realistically a decent maker space will probably take many years to get to that point. I think the best plan would be to start gathering things as I can get for free. “You can begin with found materials…” (Martinez & Stager, 2013, Kindle Location 1941) Students always have unused school supplies left at the end of the year that could be used in a maker space. I also probably have things already in my classroom that I can use in my maker space as well. My ultimate goal for supplies will be to try and complete the “Makerspace in a Box” list, also taking suggestions from students to see what they might actually need or want to use.

So the last question is what will it cost to buy the materials and how am I going to afford them? Since I’m starting small, I won’t need a lot of money up front because I want to focus on finding things for free, but eventually I will need to spend some money to purchase better tools, such as a 3D printer or electronics equipment. The actual amount would vary from year to year, but I would say that a good starting amount would be $500, and then go up from there after the first year. In 6 Strategies for Funding a Makerspace (2013), Paloma Garcia-Lopez shares six different ideas for funding a maker space. A few of them really appeal to me, such as applying for scholarships through companies like Lowe’s, and using DonorsChoose.org to request funds. Depending on the financial climate in our state, it might be possible to get funding through the school for my maker space as well.

References

Garcia-Lopez, P. (2013) 6 Strategies for Funding Makerspaces. edutopia. Retrieved June 22, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/6-strategies-funding-makerspace-paloma-garcia-lopez

Hlubinka, M. (2013) Stocking up School MakerspacesMake: Retrieved June 22, 2017, from http://makezine.com/2013/08/21/stocking-up-school-makerspaces/

Martinez, S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, And Engineering In The Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press. Kindle Edition.

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4 responses to “Week 6: What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

  1. Interesting…a chemistry makerspace. After reading you post I never thought that there could be different types of makerspaces. I thought they were all the same…just varied by the size.

    Like

  2. waclawskid says:

    I understand tinkering with chemistry, but not a Makerspace with chemistry. What thing do imagine they will create? I like how you are pushing model of makerspaces.

    Like

  3. matical4263 says:

    Keeping costs down is why this question is in here. You have some good ideas. I was thinking about your class and makerspace and it occurred to me that your students could make soap. There seems to be a lot of things that can be added to soap, from silt and pumice to different perfumes and spices. I am not sure what the chemical makeup of all those things are, but your students might research them and come up with all kinds of soap to make.

    Like

    • Sarah K says:

      That is an awesome idea! It wouldn’t be too spendy and students could even provide some of the materials from home. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of makerspaces and put a chemistry spin on it!

      Like

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