Monday, October 5, 2015

North Richland Middle School Makerspace

What do you do if you want to implement a Maker Space but have no budget? Go see Julie Pursley, North Richland Middle School Librarian.

Julie is new to the campus this year but it took her no time to notice a need for a Maker Space on her campus. To purchase the pre-packaged STEM activities that fill many Makerspaces, can amount to thousands of dollars. Julie’s new library didn’t have the budget to purchase those supplies, but that didn’t stop her. With some creativity, lots of friends and a “shout-out” on social media supplies started pouring in and the North Richland Middle School FAB LAB was born.

Monday, Wednesday & Friday mornings you can see 30-40 middle school students working on a variety of projects. There is an art station where students can create with paper, glue, markers, old magazines and even use one of the donated Circuit machines. Large pieces of cardboard are available for those who want to create a more 3-D project. Students can make things on a larger scale or take up a challenge to create a structure or putt-putt golf hole. A take-apart bin of old electronics is very popular with students who are curious to see what is inside these devices, how they work and how they can be repurposed. This table collaborates about the possibility of fixing the devices or what they can create from the pieces. I even heard mention of a robot one morning as a possible option.

Another popular table is the sewing station. Students use needle and thread to create handmade Teddy bears. Almost every teddy bear will be a gift for a sibling or special friend. This station is not just for the girls, there are quite a few camouflage teddy bears being created by boys. One young man even used his needle and thread to sew up his hoodie that had a large hole in the pocket. Students are especially excited because there's a possibility of a donated sewing machine in the near future.

Julie plans to continue to build on her donated items where she can and tie station projects to grade appropriate TEKS. Kudos to you Julie for seeing a need and thinking outside the box so BISD students can continue their learning by exploring and creating in new ways.

Rashel Larson
Digital Learning Specialist

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