What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

I would like to start small with my making space and work up from there. The materials that I would like to start with include safety goggles, glue, paper, fabric, scissors, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, feathers, paper clips, tape, clay, cookie cutters, rubber bands, yarn, thread, string, pompoms, magnets, buttons, Styrofoam, straws, cardboard, Q-tips, hammers, wood, nails, screws, screwdrivers, hinges, levels, wheels, wires, batteries, motors from electric toothbrushes, cameras, computers, and access to printers. I’m not sure about having drills, soldering irons, saws, hot glue guns, or other power tools because of the age group of my students. I have a hard time giving six year olds sharp or dangerous tools. I would require adult supervision for them to use hammers.

I agree with Hlubinka (2013), “No matter how durable the tool, equipment always begets more equipment. Hand tools need toolboxes or cabinets to organize them. Battery-powered tools need charging stations. A vacuum is needed wherever there are cutting tools. Some equipment has safety considerations, such as fire extinguishers, air filters or eye shields. First aid kits should always be well stocked and at hand throughout the space.” Just from creating my list of needs, I can see how fast my items grew. There are so many things that can go on the list, I feel like my makerspace would need to be quite large and I would need ample storage for all of our tools and materials.

As for funding my makerspace, I would need to be creative because I would like to be very selective in the materials I ask my school to fund. I am very fortunate that I come from a long line of people who never throw away junk and according to our text, “recycling junk teaches students to open up and look at anything in their world as part of their problem-solving toolkit” (Martinez & Stager, 2013). However, getting my family to part with some of their junk could be challenging, at least until I tell them “it’s for the children” because that always gets results. I believe that Garcia-Lopez (2013) offered good advice when she wrote, “Start a maker club to raise money for the project, engaging the campus and local community. Conduct a “tool drive” within your school or neighborhood, asking parents to donate tools. You wouldn’t believe how many extra tools people have in storage. While we’d like families to save some tools for making things together at home, many would be happy to donate their extra tools to schools.” I know my family has more tools than they could ever hope to use. My brother has four toolboxes (he is a diesel mechanic) and I am sure he would give me some of his extra tools. My stepfather was a master carpenter and he has both tools and knowledge that I could tap for my maker club. My family is just a jumping off point. I am sure that the families of my students also would have items that they would donate to our maker space.

References

Garcia-Lopez, P. (2013, September 5). 6 Strategies for Funding a Makerspace. Retrieved June 22, 2015, from Edutopia: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/6-strategies-funding-makerspace-paloma-garcia-lopez

Hlubinka, M. (2013, August 21). Stocking up School Makerspaces. Retrieved June 22, 2015, from Makezine: http://makezine.com/2013/08/21/stocking-up-school-makerspaces/

Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. Torrance, CA: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.

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10 thoughts on “What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

  1. You have a good list of starting supplies for your MakerSpace. Many of them many of us have already. I am comfortable with my students using a glue gun, but since I am planning on a beginning MakerSpace I would wait to add the drills and soldering iron. If I have support and there are enough people to help with safety then I might consider it. You are fortunate to have a family of makers to help you get started!

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    • Sometimes I worry that I am too concerned with safety. I just can’t give my students items that could hurt them. I do not know at which grade level glue guns are appropriate tools. I think having support is key, when students can be supervised directly, I feel more comfortable. I do have a family that is very hands on…my mom has etched glass and put in a large picture window on her own. I’ll never forget the day she took a sledge hammer to our dining room wall while my dad was at work. All of us kids were looking at each other and thinking, “Dad is going to be soooo mad”, but he really wasn’t and he let her do what she wanted.

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    • I love your list. As I was reading it I realized I left off some really important things that you included like: magnets, hinges, wheels, feathers, cookie cutters, Styrofoam, straws, Q-tips, and pompoms. I agree with you about the power tools. Hammers with 2nd graders – eeek maybe with an adult helping them. Power tools like drills will have to be used by the adults with student supervision 😉 Elementary teachers really have it made though because we have so much of the supplies already. Thanks for sharing.

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    • It is hard to know when younger kids are ready for inherently more dangerous tools. At the same time, I’ve found that kids tend to rise to the expectations we place on them, including being safe first and foremost. At a summer camp I worked at, we taught carving/whittling to middle school campers. We also taught fire-making (with flint and steel) to middle school, and I’ve seen it done with younger kids as well. I spent some time in Europe as a nanny, and helped out in the school occasionally with their crafting days. The third graders there were using soldering irons with no trouble at all. Am I saying kindergartners should play with power tools? No. But I do think that when you present kids with the opportunity to do something that’s usually only for older kids or adults, they take it much more seriously as a result. Of course that’s saying nothing about liability and parent concerns. It’s just a thought I had.

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  2. I agree about the power tools, unless you can get parents to come in and help. I worked with a 3rd grade teacher who had her students make wheel barrows during a simple machines unit. She had Home Depot pre-cut the wood and then asked parents to come in and assist the students with drilling. I think asking parents to donate tools is a great idea. The article Lee shared with us, “Stocking Up a School Makerspace” the author suggests, “Beg and borrow. Do a tool drive in your community. Your neighbors may have some of the tools you need and be happy to share these with a new generation of Makers.” http://makezine.com/2013/08/21/stocking-up-school-makerspaces/

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  3. Cherie- I am nervous about that as well with students using tools. Even for 7th graders I don’t trust them that much. I would want supervision as well. That is the way to go start small and then see where it goes. You never know you might have a lot of interested people in your school or community who would love to help and expand on other things. I would want a large makerspace as well. Where kids can work and be able to leave unfinished projects if they didn’t finish on time. I can see many of the supplies coming from your coworkers, kids families or the community. Many people have extra stuff that they don’t want or need and would be happy to give some stuff away especially if it is to help the kids.

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    • Having a space that allows students to leave their unfinished projects is definitely a concern of mine. I know our art and science room does not get used very often, except for breakfast. There are a lot of students in there for breakfast and I know that things would get touched and moved. I believe we will have a classroom in our school that will be empty this year and it would be great if we could use that classroom for a maker space. Finding a space that is large enough is key!

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      • Yes I know things would be touched. Kids are curious and would wan tot know what it does. So I would want a classroom for just this but not sure if that could happen. Usually all our classrooms are being used well large ones anyway.

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