10 Reasons to Create Makerspaces in Your School
Makerspace is a relatively new method of teaching students in a space where they can get hands-on experience working with concepts they recently learned. The point of the space is to make, create, and invent new things. There are many advantages to giving students a place to apply concepts, and those benefits are true for all areas and fields of study.
If you have been thinking about creating a makerspace in your classroom, here are a few things to consider to help you understand why you should go ahead and do it.
Builds Perseverance – Failure Is a Lesson, Not an End
Schools teach a lot of valuable lessons, but one thing students need to learn (and usually don’t learn in school) is that failure is not something to fear. Through failure, some of the best minds in the world have learned a better way to do something. With so much focus on grades and success, makerspace gives your students a place to learn that failure is also a part of the learning process. It should not be considered the end result or result in quitting. Your makerspace gives you a way of teaching this without it having a negative effect on the students’ grades.
Inspires Further Investigations
The point of school is to inspire curiosity and interest in learning more, and that is exactly what a makerspace does. Any question your student has thought during class but has been too afraid to ask can now be investigated in a safe environment. This is something that is lost when the focus is placed on doing better on standardized tests. The makerspace encourages students to wonder what would happen without distracting the class or ending up talking about an irrelevant topic. It can also help you point out different points that you may not be able to illustrate in class. By asking students to identify a solution, you are teaching them how to investigate on their own given the right tools to find the answer.
Encourages Rethinking the Concept
Once students get an idea in their heads, it can be tough to persuade them that things are not quite the way they were thinking. Makerspace gives them a chance to see not only why their thinking is wrong, but to see what is right or what works better. Sometimes it isn’t even a matter of thinking wrong, just thinking differently so that they can better understand other students’ perspectives. It is important to know that most problems can be solved several different ways.
Teaches Basic Problem Solving
Problem-solving is an invaluable skill that tends to get lost amid memorization and grades. Makerspace gives students a way to see how problems can be solved and encourage them to find ways to solve issues in a way that they would not see on paper. A student may understand a concept in theory, but when faced with a problem, it can be difficult to figure out how to apply the theory. Makerspace teaches them how to take a concept and use it to resolve a problem, even if it appears unrelated.
Helps Students Focus
It is easy to lose a student to lose focus if they spend much of the day sitting in a chair listening to their teacher talk. Makerspace gives them a place to focus on a single idea. When they are solving issues, students no longer have to imagine how that solution occurs. Since they have all of the materials in front of them, it is easier to focus on understanding the concepts and seeing how they apply.
Engages Minds and Encouraging Questions
Even the best lecture cannot engage minds and encourage questions the way a hands-on approach does. Sometimes students don’t even know what questions to ask because they cannot fully envision the concept. A makerspace gives them everything they need to start examining an idea to see how and why it works.
Provides a Way of Expression and Conversation
These points are often overlooked because classrooms tend to be about teaching, not to express or converse. However, once students are out in the work world, expression and conversation become critical to completing a project. Makerspace encourages conversation as students collaborate to create solutions. An essential part of that is learning how to express themselves in a way that encourages further discussion instead of silencing others.
Provides a Connection between Lessons and the Real World
Everyone who has been in the education field has heard students mumbling about how they will never use concepts in the real world. Makerspace provides you with a way to show students that the concepts do have practical applications outside of their tests. Seeing how concepts and ideas work in the real world also provides students with a memorable example that typically improves their understanding of those concepts.
Facilitates Ideas and Innovation Instead of Rote Memory
No matter how good a student’s memory is, there is only so much that can be memorized without a foundation for understanding. For example, you learned how to add and subtract, but it was much easier to understand how they worked when you had physical objects that were added or taken away. Makerspace facilitates a similar type of thinking which fosters innovation as students see a new way to apply a concept.
Provides a Memorable Lesson That Improves Understanding
Flashcards can be helpful, but you must use them often for the meanings to stick in your mind. A hands-on experience creates an unforgettable experience that students can use to understand what they have learned. Geometry is a lot of memorization, but having the blocks and concepts in front of you will make it far easier to understand the meaning behind those formulas. Most things make more sense when you can tie them back to an experience than if you merely try to remember what was on a card or piece of paper.
A makerspace offers something that traditional classes are lacking. Shop classes and home economics always included an element very similar to a makerspace, and while students may not have performed correctly, it was much easier to understand concepts and how to apply them. Makerspace takes this tool and moves it into traditional classes to give students a tactile and kinesthetic experience that shows them how and why a concept works. As the students work through a particular problem, they are encouraged to come up new and innovative ideas. Ultimately, this helps them to understand better and apply what they have learned.
For you visual learners, here is an great video that discusses how to develop a thriving makerspace.