After weeks of reading everything I could get my hands on, dreaming of possibilities, and agonizing over what to purchase, the Wilson Makerspace is now officially open!
I started out with a guided project and showed my students how to use the Kumihimo looms (Check out Diana Redina’s great blog post on The Value of Guided Projects in Makerspaces). I began with this activity as it is easy to learn, we have a lot of donated yarn, and once students learn how to do the basic pattern, they can teach other students what to do. We only have 20 minutes, so I set up the looms before their arrival.
There was a little confusion over what was “counter clockwise” but all in all it was a great first day!
Logistics – To limit participation (I didn’t want 60 kids to show up at the same time), I gave the 5th grade teacher tickets to pass out.
The students could choose between LEGOS, K’Nex, Kumihimo weaving or origami. They looked to me for instruction and I simply said, “You can do whatever you want. Just remember to clean up your mess before you leave.”
A group of boys rushed to the K’Nex table. I guess it looked too complicated as they settled in at the LEGOS table.
One student taught another student how to use the Kumihimo loom! 🙂
When a group of girls asked me to show them how to fold origami, I showed them the book and gently encouraged them to figure it out for themselves. They made origami flowers.
Kumihimo bracelet weaving was the favorite activity, followed by LEGOS and then origami.
Logistics – The first week, I invited just one 5th grade class. For week two, both 5th grade classes were invited. One teacher used a lottery system to choose his students. The other teacher had a sub; she used the Makerspace as a reward for good behavior.
I was pleasantly surprised when several of my Maker Kids dropped in before school and at recess to finish their Kumihimo weaving. As of right now, the Makerspace is open one lunch per week. I’m fine with drop-ins, as long as they aren’t interrupting a class.
Currently, I am piloting the program with the 5th graders. We will expand to include 3rd grade next week!