STEM Showcase

As a district STEM and Innovation coach, I have the fortunate opportunity to visit and see all things STEM.  So often, as teachers, we are only aware of our own classroom and what is happening within our own school building.  I would like to change that.  Periodically, I will be showcasing innovative things that are happening in our school district in what I am calling STEM Showcase.  For this first installment, I have a guest post about their library Makerspace from Adam Mckenzie, a STEM teacher at Antelope Ridge Elementary.

This summer at Antelope Ridge Elementary, we began the process of building a MakerSpace in our library. MakerSpaces are becoming a common sight in public libraries across the country, and we wanted to mimic that– a space where kids could come and innovate and have a place to collaborate.

First, we took down an old blackboard and replaced it with a Lego wall. The Lego wall is the centerpiece of the space. We have added a computer station with a Raspberry Pi where kids will be able to learn new ways of interacting with a computer. The other activities of the space will rotate based on student interest, the expanding content of the STEM rotation, new opportunities and what is being taught in the classroom. The activities in our MakerSpace will center around one of the four thematic areas: Space Science & Astronomy, Computer Programming, Manufacturing and Engineering & Circuits.

The space has been used gently at first, but really became an active and exciting place during the Hour of Code week in December. We used all the spaces in the MakerSpace in unique ways: adding a binary number/letter activity on the Lego Wall (one color brick for the 1s, another color for the 0s), building a giant piano with MakeyMakeys, and putting the Raspberry Pi in the hands of our students. In addition, kids worked on Chromebooks on the story stairs and PCs in the STEM classroom to complete Hour of Code activities on the website. Every student at Antelope Ridge came to a STEM rotation during that week– thanks to the collaboration of my fellow specials teachers– and we had lots of creativity and innovation being used!

As the space grows we hope to involve the community more and expand the space to more of the library.