Educator engages learners to determine materials that matter to them. The educator works to find ways to stock these materials, build them into maker activities, and use them to help meet set learning outcomes.
Planning and preparing a makerspace and the materials within it requires careful consideration and an ability to draw on the passions and interests of learners. As Charles Schwall, pedagogical curator at the St. Michael School of Clayton in St. Louis describes in “In the Spirit of the Studio: Learning from the Atelier of Reggio Emilia,” “materials have powerful capacities to represent, depict, and tell stories. Educators can discover this potential by designing contexts for learning that encourage students to use materials to search for their own strategies and invent their own solutions” (49).
In a makerspace, materials take on many forms. Marbles, cardboard, felt, recycled materials, Arduino boards, wooden blocks, straws – these are just a few of the materials one might find in a makerspace. From high-tech to low-tech to no-tech, the possibilities are vast and exciting. The list of High School Makerspace Tools & Materials in the Resources section describes many common tools and materials, where to find them, and important things to know about them, including information about safety.
Materials and tools are a means not only of creating things but also of making visible the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of young makers. It is very important to make available materials that learners will be excited about and comfortable using to create and learn (Chang et al. 27-28). Conversations surrounding materials and tools often act as a doorway to other important conversations about things like sustainability. Discussions around reused and reusable materials, for example, can help establish habits and mindsets of environmental stewardship.
To understand the materials that your group of learners value, an intake survey should be performed early on to determine what kinds of materials to have and restock in your makerspace.
Be sure to continue the conversation around materials with your group of learners.
Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 as well as a “Yes” for each component in Part 2.
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