A makerspace is an informal, open-ended workspace that encourages students to build, invent and experiment through hands-on, creative activities.
There is no universal standard for a makerspace. It can be anything from a workbench filled with crafts supplies to a lab fully equipped with high-end electronics. The purpose is to provide tools and materials that promote ingenuity, creativity and innovation.
Consider the following steps to design your makerspace:
- Gauge interest. Determine the types of activities to provide by assessing educators’ and students’ needs and interest.
- Find the space. Select a space that is functional, has access to plumbing and electricity and is located where noise won’t disturb outside learning.
- Define the space. Determine when and by whom the space will be used. If the space will be open on the weekends, the design should accommodate access during those hours.
- Explore funding options. Offset start-up costs by soliciting community donations, partnering with local business or crowdfunding on websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
- Choose the equipment. Advanced makerspaces include tools such as 3-D printers, electronics and power tools. Programs can also provide crafts supplies such as cardboard, wood scraps, duct tape and cotton balls. Both options can foster creativity and spark innovation.
For more information about designing a makerspace for your after school program, download the Makerspace Playbook.