Making progress

T-1 week until the return of students.  Today we had a work day to finish up some  details on our “Maker Philosophy” and clean up/make usable the actual makerspace room.  Here is the team getting ready (clearly coffee is required for Maker-ing)


When we went in this morning we saw that a lot of progress had been made with construction. The hallway is now clear:


The frames for the window have been built:


The garage door space is ready and the driveway has been cut:

And there was still a lot of random stuff sitting around.  We were making progress, but clearly work was needed.

The first order of the day was to clear out some of the stuff and figure out how to use our resources wisely.  As you might recall from an earlier post, we had been inspired by the work tables at ACC and were wanting to build some of those ourselves.  When we saw these unused cabinets just sitting around:


We thought we could “upcycle” those into some clever workstations.  A team got to work…

and by the end of the day we had these:


You might have noticed the blue background.  That is new too.  Our wonderful Ms. Sauter designed an eye catching and engaging color scheme for the space and today we got the paint on the walls (mostly):

While some people were working on physically transforming the space, others were perfecting our much discussed, much considered “ARS Maker Philosophy.”  As with many good creative and collaborative processes, paper and markers were essential components of good thinking processes:


We combined ideas from the Maker Manifesto, TechShop, and several books to distill down our process into five essential steps:

  1. Imagine – notice a problem, think of an idea, find something you want to do
  2. Tool-up – gather your tools – knowledge, materials, expert advice, understanding
  3. Make – do it, build it, test it, tinker
  4. Re-think – reflect on you design, revise, re-make as necessary
  5. Share – give your product to your customer, present to you audience, go public in some way.

Reflection is essential between each step.  Though the makerspace should be fun and playful, learning us really what should be happening.  If we don’t give the students time and space for conscious and deliberate reflection and processing sometimes that gets lost in the product.  Process is the key not only for learning academic skills but also for developing 21st century competencies like teamwork, resilience, and creativity.

Speaking of creativity, one of our amazing students is amazingly creative and used her summer to develop a business making educational posters.  We decided to call her up to see if she could help put a memorable graphic to our simplified process.  We’ll see what she comes up with.

Now that all these things – the process, the space, the ideas – are starting to come together, we need to communicate the vision to the entire school and community.  We had another team working on some videos to show what our makerspace is and how we will use it.  Check out the next two posts for some lovely footage of our vision for the space and possible uses.



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