A new makerspace adjacent to Shore’s Library is now open, offering a dedicated environment for exploring Design Thinking, coding, robotics, and related STEM concepts year-round. According to Technology Integration Specialist Jill Codding, who manages the space, “This is where we’ll dig into the skills we’re learning to make thing happen in the real world, whether that’s through robotics, circuitry, or an engineered contraption.”
Supported with funds donated through the 2019 Parents Association Spring Benefit, the makerspace is chock-full of supplies such as robotics kits, circuitry, wheels, motors, pulleys, battery packs, and gears, and it’s stocked with tools and materials to allow investigations into STEM concepts through hydraulics, crane-building, and much more. “Everything we’ve purchased to outfit the space is scalable,” says Codding, “so that students from Pre-K through Grade 9 can all find ways to explore and learn.”
The makerspace is part of a schoolwide push
to integrate Design Thinking more broadly into the curriculum in every grade. “I really see this as a big sandbox for kids to experiment with the Design Thinking process—from exploring an idea, developing prototypes, and dealing with failure, to reflecting on how to refine a design to solve a challenge,” Codding says. The Parents Association Spring Benefit also funded the acquisition of digital fabrication equipment to enable more Design Thinking exploration in the Innovation Lab. “The iLab is an amazing space for working with materials like plywood, metal, and glass,” explains Codding, “but to work with robotics and circuitry, a clean space like this that’s free of dust and noise is essential.”
The makerspace is only a few months old, but students, especially the youngest, are already in love with it, Codding reports. “Being located close to the Upper School, the space makes them feel grown-up, like they’re doing something special when they come here. They really light up when we talk about robots and coding and 3D printing. The space is just really fun - there’s so much to get your hands on and play with.”
The ultimate goal for such a resource, Codding explains, is being busy. “I want to see both Lower School and Upper School students experimenting in this space constantly, getting together in clubs here, collaborating with peers in the iLab on larger-scale projects, and bringing concepts from the classroom to life in new ways.” With so much to explore, Shore’s new makerspace is sure to be among the busiest, and most creative, spaces on campus.