From drills to 3-D printers, the new Makerspace packs all the equipment you need to make your dream a reality.
If you have visited the middle school this year, you may have noticed a new addition. The middle-school Latin room has been moved to the former eighth-grade science classroom in room 16, with the new Makerspace taking its place.
The idea of the Makerspace began when lower-school librarian Tibby Wroten attended conferences on alternative education philosophies and participated in sessions on Makerspaces in libraries in 2012 and 2013.
A year later, Sandy Lyon, head of the middle school, began pushing for a Makerspace in the middle school. As a test run, Tibby and Joy Pangilinan Kronemeyer, director of after-school enrichment, started a Makerspace club that met once a week in the art room in 2014.
The following year the class moved into the storage room at the back of Room 16.
Then middle-school science teacher Cade Grunst created the Makerspace elective.
With the Latin room’s move to Room 16 and the creation of the Connor M. Burns ‘20 Memorial Sound Studio, Room 20 was finally open for the Makerspace. The room is available to all grades.
Inside the Makerspace is an assortment of tools and other materials, including almost all of the robotics equipment for the middle-school robotics team. A few sewing machines are also in the room. Coding tools, such as a code-a-pillar, Arduinos and a Raspberry Pi, are there too. Another inclusion is a woodworking table with saws and drills. There are also tape, cardboard, wood, plastic and nails to build with.
Film students may be interested in the Makerspace’s microphones, cameras and green screen.
Other students can take apart pieces of technology, such as printers and computers, to learn how they work.
There are also two 3-D printers that have been used quite a bit according to Tom Wroten, director of technology. The high-school honors geometry class has 3-D printed phone stands to help with their understanding of angles.
“We used the Makerspace room to 3-D print phone stand designs we had made in class on our laptops,” said freshman Christopher Wilson. “My phone stand was strong due to the perfection of the 3-D printer and the strength of the plastic used.”
Tom said that the 3-D printers were purchased through a grant from GEN Corporation and Aerojet Rocketdyne. The coding tools were paid for through the school’s technology budget, while other items, such as sewing machines and woodworking tools, were donated.
On Oct. 28, Tom Wroten held a pumpkin-carving activity in the Makerspace, allowing students to carve pumpkins with friends.
Senior Kevin Huang has been working on multiple projects with the new Makerspace. He is creating an augmented-reality sandbox with a powerful computer, a projector and a Kinect sensor.
The other project Huang is working on is a scale model of a Boeing 777 with parts printed from the 3-D printer.
Since middle schoolers do not have a free period like high schoolers, they do not have as much time to work on projects. However, the Handy Arts and Makerspace electives are taught in the Makerspace.
Wroten said the Makerspace has been incredibly positive with high schoolers especially enjoying the pumpkin carving day.
“I think the Makerspace is a perfect place to turn a mental creation into a real, physical object” Wilson said.
—By Spencer Scott