Monday, May 18, 2015

Maker Space Comes to SEMS

Recently, Southeast Middle School and University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG)  have joined forces to create a "Maker Space" that will allow our kids innovate, imagine and learn as they create things that help reinforce the curriculum.  UNCG has awarded the WSFCS district a grant and SEMS and Kernersville are the lucky recipients!   As we venture into this endeavor, members of our Southeast Middle School staff visited the maker space at UNCG so we could start the process of creating our own makerspace at Southeast.  

The next step is to determine what our maker-space will look like and what types of equipment will we purchase to be part of the space.  UNCG will give us several thousand dollars and provide us with resources to help us select items.  

Lisa Turner and John Downs met in small groups on Friday May 15th to debrief from the makerspace visit and the following are some of the points of discussion.  We met with the following teachers:

Jennifer Martin, 8th Grade Science
Mathew Halverstadt, 8th Grade Social Studies
Patricia Phillips, 6th Grade Language Arts
Jennifer Gustin, Physical Education and Health
Denise Stephenson, Foreign Language - Spanish
Cynthia Hatch, Career and Technical Education
Karie Frauenhoffer, 7th Grade Language Arts
Molly Carter, 8th grade Language Arts

Location of Maker Space:

  • 502?  Place John Downs could help facilitate students in "pullout" groups
  • Media Center? items could be on check out--we could use exisiting carts and check out components
    • Side room in the media center be equipped with shelves and that space be used?
  • Gustin mentioned the possibility of using the Study skills room as a location for a maker-space?  Especially since there is no set curriculum and students could have some leeway.
  • Hatch would be a good person to pilot possibly?

Items for the Maker Space:



  • Tubs would be important for keeping stuff organized
  • Little Bits--Currently there is an educator discount of 15%.  Everyone spoke positively about them,  and felt they would be a good item to purchase
    • We are hoping to hear that UNCG might get an additional grant to allow us to receive a number of these little bit kits kits
  • Most thought the 3 D printer might need more investigation before we consider purchasing it.  Concerns were about the cost of a decent one, and the cost to replace supplies.  Also a concern is how applicable it will be for curriculum. 
    • If a 3-d printer were purchased, Lisa volunteered to "house it" in the media center in a secure location  
  • Headphones;
    • personal ear buds on student supply list?
  • More Plastic stands like the media center has now on top of shelves to display QR codes or book talk interactive  displays
  • IPADS:  Will UNCG be supplying any ? Or do we need to spend our pot of money for the makerspace on these?  Most agreed that ipads would definitely be something we would want to purchase.
    • many apps for ipad for Science and Social Studies
  • Otter box for the ipads
  • Scratch software:  We have access to install this already with WSFCS approved and free software
  • Focus on items that are not as "consumable" in favor of more permanant things.  Possibly find donors to provide consumable items?
  • Carts?  Lisa feels like we probably have enough in house carts that we can use.
  • leggos:  can we get some donated?

What type of student groups will participate in the maker space?

  •  What about AG kids?  They never seem to be rewarded for doing their work?  Would it be good to let groups of AG students create things in the maker space?

    • Possibly use the maker-space as team incentive occasionally ?
    • What about using the maker-space as a  behavior incentive for students with behavior or academic issues? 


Those interested in the UNCG coursework:

  • Karie Frauenhoffer in interested in the summer camp and coursework
    • Possibly interested?  Molly Carter and Patricia Phillips
  • interested in possibly seeing the camp in action:  Downs/Hatch/Martin/Turner
    • We thought space in the small setting could be an issue at UNCG

Overall Questions/concerns:

  • Is the investment in these projects worth it?
  • Could we have access to a grad assistant to come out at times? 
  • Would it be worth the time to do something like the word box when it is just to learn vocabulary?


Sage Washington:

Marion, Kimberly L
Program Manager, Magnet Schools & STEM Programs
W-S Chamber of Commerce STEM Committee Chair
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Michael C. Renne
Instructional Technology Consultant
School of Education
University of North Carolina - Greensboro

1 comment:

  1. John,

    Great post! I really like the idea of sharing your reflections around the makerspace on a blog. Perfect use of technology! Well done!