Last year I started Makerspaces in my library as a way to give my students more opportunities to be "hands-on" in their learning. (You can read about my Makerspace beginnings here.) I definitely learned a lot by jumping right in, and as with most things, found that some parts worked great while others needed some tweaking. At the end of the year, I did an informal survey with mainly 3rd through 5th grade asking them "What lesson/activity did you enjoy the most in the library" and MANY of them mentioned our Makerspace activities. I was super happy to hear that, and planned on continuing Makerspaces again this year.
Around the same time, I found out that my district was going to open a new elementary school this year, and it was going to be a STEM school. I went to several meetings about it, and was completely hooked in this concept! (It took me back to my days of teaching 3rd grade and all the inquiry-based projects I used to do with my students that integrated Science, Social Studies, and Math.) So, there I was at the beginning of summer, brainstorming ways to improve Makerspaces when it suddenly hit me! I remember it was like the skies cleared, the birds chirped, and the music exploded in my head all at the same time! A huge smile came across my face as I said to myself, "What if I combined my Makerspace activities with a STEM/STEAM focus?"
I immediately thought of my library and how I could rearrange things to make 5 clearly defined areas, near a wall, for each station. I moved some tables that I had up against the wall and made them go perpendicular instead. This would allow more students (up to 4-5) at each table instead of only 2-3 if the tables were flat against the wall. Then I looked at the wall above each table, and in my mind I could see posters that would state the STEAM concept, and give the kids an idea of the skills that they may use at that station. So that's how I came to make these posters:
I'm thinking about making the main posters at Office Depot probably 12x24 but then make the "Challenge" sign just on 11x14 cardstock and laminate it. That way, I can change out and rotate the activities, and can either write in the activity or tape the instructions on the sign.
I also made some additional signs that combined all the concepts to post up around the library's Makerspace area and some bookmarks to hand out to the students as reminders of activities we are doing in the library.
If you are interested in using these in your own library,
I'm super excited about starting this new way of doing centers and will post pictures once I get everything set up at school in the next week or two.
What new things are you trying this year in your library? I'd love to hear from you!