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Makespaces Overview

Makespaces Overview

The Tinkerers

When do students go to Makerspaces and see the Tinkerers?

Makerspaces are staffed with lab managers (Tinkerers). Tinkerers collaborate with classroom teacher to use the makerspace resources and tools to meet the classroom teacher’s academic, instructional and social/emotional goals.

  • Teachers can sign up for a recurring weekly time-slot, or they can schedule time with tinkerer to bring in class for in depth short duration projects

  • Sites will be open for student free exploration times outside of classroom visit times, schedules vary by site but can include lunch-time and after school clubs and electives

  • When appropriate, Tinkerers may also go in to classrooms to support technology or engineering rich activities with classroom teacher

Instructional Strategies

Tinkerers can lead or support activities that:

  • Meet or support classroom teacher’s goals for ELD, Common Core, Social Studies and Next Generation Science (NGSS) standards

  • Teach design thinking and engineering

  • Teach coding and computer science

  • Support in-class projects (including project based or thematic learning units)

  • Provide a fun and safe environment for meaningful group work and collaboration

  • The Makerspace team has standard hands-on making activities that are aligned with the NGSS curriculum map to encourage integration even if there is not a set time for collaboration with classroom teacher

Typical Activity

10 minutes: Introduction to tools in the space or setting up a prompt for design

  • This could be a read aloud that sets up a problem (eg: Those Darn Squirrels
    introduces a retiree who thinks his problem is to protect bird-seed from the
    clever squirrels in his backyard, but it turns out what he really needs is

  • An introduction to the design process to solve the problem

  • An introduction to the tools and materials for the given challenge (the
    supplies you can use in your group to solve the problem)

25-40 minutes: Students work in small groups or partners on building their projects

  • Any time the students are in the makerspace, they will be doing hands-on making

10 minute reflection or design challenge (eg: testing the squirrel-proof bird feeder designs)

  • Students will present their work to class (practicing listening and speaking

  • Some activities will be stand-alone and some units will span up to 3 weeks.

  • The Makerspace will also be open for free exploration for students (to follow their own goals or come up with independent projects). This is typically 2-3 lunchtimes a week, some recesses and before or after school depending on each school's needs and availability.


Student Materials/Tools Available in our Makerspaces

  • iPads and Computers

  • 3D Printers, vinyl cutters, laser-cutters, sewing machines

  • Desktop CNC milling machines

  • Robotics (Bee Bots, Dash and Dot robots, Lego WeDo and Mindstorms, Arduino and Raspberry Pi)

  • Electronics (basic circuits, soldering, circuit boards, programming, and little Bits components)

  • Woodworking tools (saws, sanding, files, etc.)

  • Rapid prototyping supplies (tape, cardboard, hot glue, craft sticks, etc.)