By Anna Mintzer
As Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEAM) courses and clubs have gained popularity across the nation, a rise of facilities called Makerspaces began to sweep through schools. Many of the high– and even middle– schools in New York City have at least one Makerspace area in their buildings. All students at Beacon would benefit from an easily accessible lab room where they could learn through creativity and innovative thinking.
During their free bands, students often reside on school floors to work– essentially the only alternative to working in the library. A Makerspace provides an excellent alternative; it is a place where students can explore the design process, solve problems, and work collaboratively– with all the materials they would need at their disposal.
The lab embodies the STEAM acronym, facilitating creativity in various fields. However, no particular set of guidelines defines a makerspace; most spaces house building tools, craft, and technological materials and space for computers, 3D printers, and collaborative working stations. Building tools can span from woodworking appliances to vinyl cutters and soldering equipment. The standard craft supplies in a makerspace are essentially unlimited: fabric, felt, popsicle sticks, insulation foam, cardboard, paint, glue, rubber bands, duct tape, legos, and recycled materials. In addition, technological equipment is traditionally available in a makerspace for students to borrow, including breadboards, Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, resistors, wires, and servo motors.
At Beacon, students often use an array of specialized materials to work on PBAs, after-school hobbies, or school projects, then throw out the leftover materials. For example, this year, I bought a six-pack of mylar bags on amazon for my math PBA but only used two of them. These kinds of excess supplies would be excellent recyclable donations for the makerspace.
Aside from engineering and math classes held in the Makerspace, many clubs could take advantage of the space. For example, clubs specializing in engineering could hold their meetings year-round in the room, and other art-related clubs could use the lab for one-off sessions. Additionally, a Makerspace would allow Beacon to develop a robotics/engineering team that could work up to a year-long tournament such as the FIRST Robotics Competition.
Our school’s mission statement emphasizes students’ motivated learning through curiosity and engagement. A Makerspace will highlight the driven, inventive learning cultivated in the Beacon environment.
So, if you would be interested in having a Makerspace at Beacon please fill out this form!