No FabLab, No Problem!

I am in awe of the Fab Labs I have visited. The first one I became aware of and the most well known Maker at a NYSAIS School is Jaymes Dec (@jaymesdec) at The Marymount School. He has become a resource to our entire community and because of him, I have really become aware of who the makers are in our small NYC community. He is very public, approachable and involved. With that, the demand for his attention is high. So he started a listserv, k-12-fablabs@googlegroups.com, with the hope that other Makers can answer questions and post ideas. So now I listen to a national Maker voice! But I don’t have a Fab Lab so what am I doing there?

A LOT!

I am sure there are a lot of schools that are in my position. No space for a dedicated room to house expensive equipment. Or you haven’t identified an educational use for that laser cutter yet. Or simply no budget to purchase machines that can run your organization tens of thousands of dollars. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from this group or contribute.

I am Making in my school. There are tons of projects that cost us almost nothing to do but pack STEAM into the curriculum like you wouldn’t believe. The other day, I broke out the Makey Makey sets with my 2nd Graders. They were studying electricity in Science and this was a perfect way to reinforce how easy it is to make a circuit. MakeyMakey.com has an informative how-to page which students can follow and there is a projects page too. The projects page is where people have posted YouTube videos of what they have accomplished with these kits. I can’t wait for my 2nd Graders to design their own activities and FUN using Makey Makey kits. By the way, the sets are about $50 (plus take 20% for educator’s discount). So we have 7 sets for a class of 21 students.

What’s next? My students are going to create Automata using everyday items like cardboard, paper, and wooden skewer sticks. Also, the students will be developing e-textiles products. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

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