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Books, Robots, Makerspaces... OH MY!

March 28, 2018


Wondering what my Library/Innovative Learning Center/Media Center is all about? Looking for ideas on how to transform your school library into a collaborative area where students come to play, explore and create?

Then you have landed in the right spot! 

This video was made last year as a review for the expectations at each makerspace.

Since then my spaces have grown tremendously! Keep reading to see how...




Check out each station I have in my library and how I brought it to life. You can get the instruction cards and "I can" statements here for free!



I break my stations up into 3 categories: 

1. Basic. These are stations that you don't have to explain how to use and don't necessarily have to watch super closely. 


2. Moderate. These stations have a few more rules and may involve a tutorial, but once kids get the hang of it, they self-manage. 

3. Complex. These stations are either expensive or involve in-depth training. Stations that have to be monitored very closely or aren't open for free choice. 


It is important to have enough stations open that every student in the class has a choice or can be at one, but it is a fine balance because you don't want too many complex ones out and you don't want to train them on too many at once that they forget... 

I always start off with 6 basic and 1-2 moderate, adding/explaining a new station every other week. I also trade out stations often, so you may see the same tables being used with different stations. 




LEGOS. This is a super self explanatory station. 3-4 kids at a time. Build and create using the book or your imagination! I bought the big tub of legos and maintenance used a special glue to glue the background. 


GAMES. The game corner is full of games that I pulled out of my closets at home or donated by other teachers. No more than 4 at this station and they have to put away their first game before they can get out another. I just took the legs off a school table and seats from Amazon!


STRATEGIZE. The chess/checkers table is a basic station as well. 2 kids sit down to play and if a student is waiting to play, they will play the winner of the first game, and so on. The table I purchased from Demco and the pieces I got for real cheap at the Dollar store. 


PUZZLES. The puzzle station is on an old atlas reference stand that has lots of pull out drawers. This is the perfect set up for puzzles because you can have multiple puzzles being worked on at once. 


GEARS. Gears of all sizes that I toss on different tables for the kids to come and tinker with. They build the most amazing things with these gears from flower crowns to scorpions! 


MARBLE RAMPS. Super cool little marble ramp run that the students organize in a way to the get the ball back into the little U shaped buckets. I had maintenance come and drill 2 magnetic whiteboards on the side of my circulation desk. 


MARBLE MAZE. Students use the guide to assist them in creating a marble maze to get the ball down the maze. Full disclosure: this one is kinda complicated and the kids weren't as receptive to it. 


TINKER GALORE. On one shelf I have all my tinker sets including building straws, k'nex, IQ pieces, and tons of different types of building blocks. Students can create whatever they want and display their creations for a few days on top of the book shelves. They love getting their work shown. 




CIRCUITS. I put this under the "moderate" category because it does take some supervision, especially if you are using sensitive or fragile circuits like  little bits. Remember, these are laid out for anyone to stop and play with, so I keep my more expensive Little Bits in my closet for teachers to check out and lay out its less expensive counterpart, Electronic Snap Circuits. The kids LOVE these and they come with a book of examples.


STOP MOTION. This involves needing an iPod or other recording device. Students have to go to Ms. McGowan (my IA) and request it. After that it is pretty self explanatory,  since we purchased "stix bots" which has the figures, green screen and comes with an app. I added play-doh and other supplies for extra creativity. 


VIRTUAL REALITY. Students ask for the iPod from Ms. McGowan and use the apps already tested and on the device to explore and discover new places! I use Google Cardboard to do this. 


DUCT TAPE. I created my duct tape holder using PVC pipe that I painted. I also invested in special duct tape cutting scissors along with a projects book. This doesn't take much explaining, but does need to be monitored closely so that students don't become wasteful. 


COMPUTER. I had 2 extra computer towers. I took one totally apart (super gluing the optical drive totally shut and labeling it DO NOT OPEN) and let the other one together as an example. This does take monitoring since they need to come ask Ms. McGowan for the screwdriver and we don't want that walking off. 



PERLER BEADS. Why is this one complex? Because it involves a hot iron that no student is allowed to handle. I created a folder of perler bead ideas that I found online and students use the trays and tweezers to create their creations and take them to Ms. McGowan to iron. 


3D PRINTER. This is not an everyday makerspace. At my school we have "Genius Hour" which is a time that all the GT kids get to explore and create a project of their choosing. All of these students are trained on how to use the 3D printer as well as our "HIS Star Students" who can come in whenever allow to play and create. Teachers also have their classes create things aligned to their TEKS, classes vote on their favorite and that will be printed as well.