If You Build It, They Will Make

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Today I took 2nd Graders to our Makerspace.  It is extremely raw and unpolished.  We barely have the materials to open, but I had made a commitment to open this week.  I set out many of the materials, and just jumped in.

My first reflection was simple.  It will never be done, ready, or perfect.  If I didn’t jump into it today, we could have waited weeks.  Makerspaces are not about perfect, they are about working together to learn and improve things.  That is not only the goal for kids, but the goal for all of us.

When the kids were working on various projects and with different materials, I heard exactly what you wish you could…

“Can I stay here for recess?”

“Can I come back tomorrow?” (Tomorrow was Saturday)

“Wait, I have an idea…”

“What if we try this?”

“Can anyone help me with this?” “Yeah I will help!”

“I LOVE THIS”

It wasn’t perfect.  For starters I had 7 kids taking apart 2 objects with only 1 philips head screw driver.  They argued a little, and I really should have been ready for that.  Did it cause any serious problems? No, but it didn’t need to be.

I also had kids with great ideas to start designing 3D prints that were important to them, but we are having some minor issues with the extruders, and I didn’t have any software or web based sites ready for the kids to begin designing.

Finally, I had a crafting area without any paper! Yes, that’s right, no paper!  Oh well.  Kids designed and created on foam and felt.

In the end, the effects were instantaneous.  Within seconds they were working together, excited, discussing ideas, planning, and doing.  It was everything we hoped to cultivate over time, and all I had to do was provide the space, kids quickly took care of the rest.  It may not stay perfect, there will certainly be more troubles, things to learn and work through, but each challenge is an opportunity to model growth and learning for our kids.

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