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The essentials for starting your makerspace

Makerspace Blog 2 of 2: The Essentials For Starting Your Makerspace

Now that you’re across The What, The Why and The How we’ve put together some information on the essentials that will help you get started with your makerspace.

Makerspaces are found in classrooms, libraries or common rooms. When choosing the right space take these things into account:

Sufficient Lighting
Choose a space that has enough light, especially where students will be using tools or items requiring fine motor skills. 


Ventilation/Windows
W
hen using 3D printers and other electronics you need to make sure the space has sufficient ventilation, with some windows that can be opened to minimise odours.


Power Outlets
U
sing appliances will require power outlets, ensure your space has enough for the equipment you have, and the size of group you’re catering for.





Desks and Tables
If using your own classroom this should be easy. Allocate one or two desks as your makerspace tables and mark them so that everyone knows what this area is for.
The tables should be a good size for the size of the group you’re planning on engaging. Keeping everyone around one desk is ideal, however you can use multiple desks to split bigger groups into smaller teams. If you have the budget, you can look at purchasing specifically built makerspace workstations.


Blackboard/Whiteboard
This is important so you can write any instructions you want the students to follow. You can also let them use the board to record their own findings, or to put questions to the group.


Storage
Ensure you have enough storage to keep your makerspace materials. By nature, a makerspace will have a lot of bits and pieces, some electrical, so you need to think about where you will store them and how to keep them and your students safe when they are not in use.


Products
Once you have the basics organised you can build a list of products to use in your projects. If your budget is minimal start by asking students to bring things in from home – ask them what sort of things they would like to work on, and then hand it over to them to bring in what they can. You can top up the space with affordable products such as;

If you have a bigger budget you can look into purchasing reusable kits such as LittleBits and Strawbees. If your budget is substantial you might want to consider purchasing a 3D printer, which can have multiple uses and be used by students of many different age levels.


Projects
It is essential that you have projects to get your students engaged in the makerspace. Ask them what sort of projects they are interested in. Do some research and find similar projects others have done in their makerspaces. If you’re seeing blank faces, search google for a problem, then ask the students to think about how they might solve it. 


First Aid Kit
The health and safety of your students is a priority. Make sure there is easy, fast access to a First Aid kit close to your makerspace.

Makerspaces are a good way of getting students to work in groups solving queries and everyday problems. It is also essential that you embrace the process as learning for not just the students, but also you, as their teacher. It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers – find them out together.



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