Crafting New Ways to Learn in Chapin Elementary’s New MakerSpace

Chapin Elementary is stepping out of the box and finding new ways to embrace learning and creativity in the classroom with its new MakerSpace! This is not just a room with tools, although the tools are very cool like 3D printers, robots, Legos, recycled materials, musical instruments, and more. It’s a space that capitalizes on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) where teachers and students dive into the curriculum in 2D and 3D ways. 

Students learn best when they are actively engaged. This space ignites learning where students take the lead and investigate standards and content with a new lens. They MAKE sense of their learning by MAKING things. Students develop problem-solving skills, gain critical thinking abilities, and acquire knowledge in a way that sticks! Teachers collaborate with their teammates and school coaches to design inquiry-rich learning experiences for their students. 

Once just an ordinary classroom, this space has now been converted into an imagination wonderland. 4th grade students designed musical instruments with recycled materials during a recent study on sound. Another 4th-grade class created our solar system using 3D printing software. 4K students learned directional words while coding with robots and giving the coordinating directional commands. First-grade students created a map using their knowledge of rural, suburban, and urban communities and then sent robots to travel through the roads. The possibilities are endless! 

The impact of the MakerSpace has been profound. Students beg to learn in the space. They love this style of learning and teachers are embracing it wholeheartedly. This space originated from a conversation with the principal, Jesse Hutchinson, and the digital integration specialist, Margaret Nickerson. They wrote grants for the funding starting in 2021 and are still working to grow the space. The most recent grant was from MCEC for 20 pluggable digital microscopes! The students could not be more excited about learning! 

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