This fall, BELS purchased two sets of Maker supplies to provide mobile MakerSpaces to our member libraries. Each kit includes a variety of learning tools and building sets to help students learn principles of electronics, physics, and design. Maker programs encourage a “problem-solving” mindset in students and help them learn to think creatively as they are learning valuable lessons and applications of STEM concepts. The best part is- they have fun doing it! Keep reading below for one Media Specialist’s experience in setting up her MakerSpace.
Andrea Romano, Cliffside Park High School
To set up my Makerspace, I looked through Pinterest and several other websites, like PBS, to find easy and quick MakerSpace projects the students could create that didn’t require a lot of fancy products. From there I headed to dollar and discount stores to acquire the supplies I needed to create the projects, along with plastic containers and buckets to hold the items in. I spent about $75 for my initial supplies. I had an old book cart in my room that had shelves and was the perfect fit for all of my supplies. I promoted the MakerSpace on my school website, on banners and posters in the media center, through morning announcements, and by inviting teachers to bring their classes in to preview the space.
In just a few weeks, many students have enjoyed creating new designs while using the 3D pen provided by the BELS MakerKit. One geometry class will be using the pen soon to create 3D shapes to assist with their understanding of new concepts. Other students have created bristol bots using Little Bits, fans from a circuit set, and have played guitar hero using the MaKey Makey- all components of the BELS MakerKit. Using easily found dollar store supplies, students had a great (and messy!) time making their own glow sticks. Several students have also begun creating their own video games using Scratch. They are inspired and intrigued by what they can create and look forward to hearing about new projects.
As you can see, by combining the more costly materials in the BELS MakerKit and the easily obtainable supplies from a dollar store, Cliffside Park’s Media Center was able to put together a robust and varied collection of enticing projects for the students. Soon it will be time to pass the MakerKit on to the next BELS library, but you can check out all of their projects and others to come on our twitter feed @