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How to Start a Makerspace When You're Broke

How to Start a Makerspace When You're Broke
Everyone’s Favorite Excuse I’ve had the honor and privilege of sharing with hundreds of librarians and educators about our makerspace. Unfortunately, I see many educators hold back on starting a makerspace because of funds. I’m always hearing excuses like: “I’d love to do (insert cool Maker activity) at my school, but we don’t have a budget for that.”“We can’t really afford a 3D printer right now.” What many people don’t realize is that the idea that you need a lot of money to start a Makerspace is a myth. Share Your Vision with ALL THE PEOPLE You want to start a makerspace. Recycled materials can make for awesome projects Seek out Donations Never discount the value of donated materials. Consider putting out a bin for donations of recycled materials. We first started our makerspace with bins of K’nex found in a storage room Work with What You’ve Got Since you’ve started sharing your vision, you might have found out that your school already has some maker supplies lying around. Go Make Stuff :)

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Related:  MakerSpacesMakerspacesCurricular Role of the School LibrarianMakerspaces: Getting StartedMakerspace Resources & Materials

6 Strategies for Funding a Makerspace The Maker movement continues to gain momentum. At this year's White House Science Fair, President Obama invited Super-Awesome Sylvia from Auburn, California to exhibit her water color robot as a representative of the Maker community. At the same event, the Corporation for National Service announced its commitment to place Americorps VISTAs in Maker movement organizations across the country.

Starting a School Makerspace from Scratch With the National Week of Making behind us, you might be ready to start a makerspace in your school -- but not know where to start. Will purchasing a costly 3D printer and the latest robotics kit ensure learning and maker success? What are some steps to starting a successful makerspace from scratch? Step 1: Immerse Yourself in Maker Education Before you can build your own community of makers, you need to join one! Immerse yourself in makerspaces by joining a summer maker camp like Exploratorium's Tinkering Fundamentals or the virtual Camp Google for cheap and easy STEM ideas, but most importantly: make stuff!

Advocating for Makerspaces in Libraries Since I first started my Makerspace at Stewart Middle Magnet School in January 2014, I have received a lot of positive feedback. I’ve given talks, presented at conferences, and shared about our experiences through my blog and through social media. Some of the questions I am most frequently asked are: Why should makerspaces be in the library? Why not just convert a classroom into a STEM lab? Manufacturing Makerspaces Kids gather to make Lego robots; teens create digital music, movies, and games with computers and mixers; and students engineer new projects while adults create prototypes for small business products with laser cutters and 3D printers. Many libraries across the US have developed makerspaces—places to create, build, and craft—and they are experiencing increased visits and demand as a result. For public libraries, they are places to promote community engagement. For academic libraries, they are places where students and faculty feel welcome to do classwork and research. Fundamentally, makerspaces are a technological leap past library knitting and quilting circles, where patrons and experts have often come together to learn new techniques and train others in a skill. The new tools are a lot flashier, and certainly more expensive than a needle and thread.

Designing a School Makerspace Makerspaces, STEAM labs and fab labs are popping up in schools across the country. Makerspaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering and tinkering. A makerspace is not solely a science lab, woodshop, computer lab or art room, but it may contain elements found in all of these familiar spaces. Therefore, it must be designed to accommodate a wide range of activities, tools and materials.

Creating a School Library Makerspace: The Beginning of a Journey Our library at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, CO is an active hub for extracurricular activities. We host an Anime Club, monthly Poetry Slams, and Book Buddies, but I felt like we could do more. I wanted something that I could tie to student learning which would promote inquiry, giving students opportunities to solve problems and find answers to questions.

Starting a School Makerspace from Scratch With the National Week of Making behind us, you might be ready to start a makerspace in your school -- but not know where to start. Will purchasing a costly 3D printer and the latest robotics kit ensure learning and maker success? What are some steps to starting a successful makerspace from scratch? Want to Start a Makerspace at School? Tips to Get Started As the Maker Movement starts to gain momentum, schools that are trying to find ways to foster the do-it-yourself environment can learn a few lessons from another nexus in the universe: public libraries. Dale Dougherty, founding editor and publisher of Make Magazine — and the de facto leader of the Maker Movement — has a vision to create a network of libraries, museums, and schools with what he calls “makerspaces” that draw on common resources and experts in each community. Libraries and museums, he said, are easier places to incorporate makerspaces than schools, because they have more space flexibility and they’re trying to attract teens with their programs. “Schools have already got the kids,” Dougherty noted wryly, at the recent American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. One day during the conference, dubbed Maker Monday, focused on the Maker Movement, which emphasizes learning by engaging in tech-related projects.

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