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Designing and Refining a Makerspace/Innovation Lab at the Middle Level

Thea MacFawn, Catara Vinson-Westbrook, Mark Kaercher — North Colonie Central Schools

In our middle school, each sixth grader has a dedicated daily period of Innovation. Students spend six weeks in each lab: Coding and Robotics, Clean Tech, Humanities, Wellness, Makerspace, and Simulations. We would like to share how we got to this point, our ever evolving goals, how we used the ISTE Standards to guide us, connections across curricular areas, assessment practices, interdisciplinary collaboration, ongoing feedback, the development of guiding axioms and our ongoing evolution. We have used two different models to provide access to our 7th and 8th graders. We will also engage the group in a short immersive hands on experience where facilitators will challenge participants following the model of the Innovation Axioms. After the immersive experiences, we will have an interactive discussion about the activity. that will be followed by an Open Space activity where participants can self-select into discussions around the following areas: Group 1- My class/school does not yet have a Makerspace/Innovation experience but we are interested in designing one. Group 2- My class/school has a fledgling Makerspace/Innovation experience and I would like to review our progress and plans. Group 3- My class/school has a Makerspace/Innovation Program and I would like to review our learnings and future thinking around it Group 4- I have additional questions for the presenter. The conversation will close with a brief 3-4 question survey on the Padlet.

Conversational Practice

Participants will access a Padlet using a QR code that will include all slides, resources and organizational tools for participants to engage in the Open Space portion of the conversation. This provides participants with a single point of digital access to the content, resources and their own reflective thinking.

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