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Sandy Hook Elementary School celebrated a “Makerspace Week,” from April 23 to 28, with activities for both parents and students. A Makerspace Night for parents and students was held on April 24, and throughout the week students participated in different lessons in the school’s library.
The week’s activities were made possible, according to Sandy Hook library/media specialist Katie Mauro, thanks to the school’s PTA. The different devices used throughout the week were mostly funded through grants from the last couple of years, both from the Newtown Education Foundation (NEF) and from a grant the Newtown Mobil supported, according to Ms Mauro, who organized the week.
Throughout the Makerspace Week, as classes rotated through lessons in the library, Ms Mauro said students took part in activities set up at different stations in the room. In one area, students could use Snap Circuits kits to design models with moving parts. According to the Snap Circuits manufacturer, Elenco, the kits teach students about electronics, engineering, science, and technology. In another area, iPads were set up with Osmo devices, which are designed to turn tablets into hands-on lessons in problem solving, coding, and more, according to its website, playosmo.com. Dash & Dot robots were also available for students to program to move about an area of the library. A programmable robot mouse was set up on a table for students to design a maze, and program the mouse to go through the maze.
Younger students could play with Keva planks to build structures out of the wooden pieces.
During the Makerspace Night students and parents made their way between the stations, and students took turns showing parents how to use the different tools and machines. Students also gathered with friends to team up to use the robots or Snap Circuits kits.
Overall, Ms Mauro said she hopes the week taught students that they are “more independent than they realize.”
As part of teaching the students to be independent, Ms Mauro arranged for parents to visit the library during class activities. As she described to one third grade class, the students were in charge of explaining to the visiting adults how to use each station in the library.
“You guys are the teachers today,” she said near the start of a third grader’s class. “You have to teach them how to code, engineer, and Osmo.”