Saturday, March 5, 2016

Raid the Recycling: The Value of Consumables in the Creation Station

On her Renovated Learning blog, Diana Rendina recently posted an article entitled Make and Takes: Let Students OWN the Learning.  What a valuable reminder that MakerSpaces don't necessarily have to be stocked with the most expensive tools!  Sometimes repurposing things like cardboard, toilet paper rolls, and other consumables in a make & take creation can build more enthusiasm amongst students and families than anything else!  It's like sending home an advertisement for making!

This year at our K-2 school, students have created the following take-homes:

  • musical instruments that they played during the culminating fiesta for the Mexico studies 
  • alebrijes- students drew their own alebrijes in art and then created a 3-D sculpture in the MakerSpace
  • snow sleds to go with their Pushes and Pulls science unit (these even carried passengers down the hill- someone had donated a box of action figures!)
  • their own rendition of Chinese dragons (both individual and a collaborative class dragon for a parade)
  • scene / object depicting their own invented celebration or tradition of winter
  • their own rendition of Chinese lanterns (none of those "trace and cut on the lines" paper lanterns around here!)
  • newspaper towers used in a competition to see which team could build a tower to hold the most books
  • ... and more

I'm now getting quite a few parents who tell me that their child has started using what used to be trash and recycling containers to make creations at home!

In the back of my mind, I think the most wonderful thing about using recycled consumable items is that it evens the socioeconomic playing field!  Your family doesn't have to purchase expensive 3-D printers or Snap Circuits to foster a Maker Mentality!  Along those lines, a school that doesn't have plentiful funds can STILL have a great MakerSpace!

Chinese Dragon

Chinese Lantern