Matt's Maker Space Spotlight: New Castle's George Washington Intermediate School
This week, we are featuring New Castle’s Maker Space! Their maker space is located in a classroom in George Washington Intermediate School. The space has an industrial-type atmosphere complete with positive and inspirational sayings on the walls and vinyl stickers inviting and exciting students to enter the space. There is also a special shelf to display students’ work for others to see.
The goal of creating the space was to have a dedicated space for implementing STEAM and maker learning lessons to be accessible to students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Though creating the maker space has allowed for that, New Castle has always been making prior to creating the space. Maker learning started when a student from New Castle won $2,000 from Matt’s Maker Challenge after being part of the Digital Promise Maker Cohort. Emily Sanders, Director of Academics and Innovation, explains that the school has continued to be very proactive in applying for grants to fund and support pockets of innovation for their students.
The space has also previously partnered with the Carnegie Science Center to provide 18 hours of professional development to get teachers up to speed with the tools and be well-trained in managing the space. When using the space, teachers are also able to access a binder that has lesson plans available to instructors to support maker learning in their existing curriculum.
Emily believes that maker learning is a beneficial supplement to traditional school curriculum, especially in fostering skills that are not taught in textbooks: “[I’ve observed] students become more passionate about learning. Students sometimes don’t even know they’re learning -- talking about teamwork, problem solving, and going through the engineering design process without even knowing about it.”