What is MakerSpace / Tinkering Lab?
Maker space is an effective way to engage students in learning of important 21st century skills such as hands-on STEM concepts, analytical thinking, problem solving, and design expertise through making. It is a place where students can learn to use material, tools, design and create prototype using their practical abilities and scientific knowledge. It encourages students to explore, tinker and build while understanding the integration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in everyday life.
Why we need it?
Realizing the need to establish a center to gratify the interest, curiosity and ingenuity of the students, Pakistan Science Club has initiated the setup of Maker Space / Tinker lab in schools to develop and nourish the technical capabilities of the students. As the traditional educational system of teaching science in schools and labs for only higher classes are not capable to address the inquisitiveness of the students. The idea is to provide a platform where all types of basic tools, instruments and technical aid will be provided to the students to work on their ideas, to develop the practical approach, design prototypes using engineering principles, theories, calculations and techniques.
Things to remember
The dedicated space or room should be set aside as it will be full of noise and discussion. It should also be accessible for all students to work on their projects.
Flexible Work area
Such areas should be provided where students can work comfortably individually or in teams. Moveable furniture, discussion areas with white board and post board can be a good addition to the space.
Students should have easy access to electrical sockets for charging their laptops and to use tools. Extension cords should be used in a way that they must not cause entanglement hazard.
Recycle and trash bins
Making is highly reiterative process and lot of things get wasted so there should be large dustbins to keep the place clean. The concept of recycle must be introduced to discuss about the waste management and to reuse the material in making of other thing.
Availability of tools
Think about what you want students to be able to do in the Maker Space and the tools they will need in doing so. The availability of the right tools is the most important factor. Make sure that all the students have access to the required tools.
A maker space can become very messy where students will be performing multiple tasks. Proper storage shelves, containers and drawers should be made with clear labels and easy access for all students. The space should be clear from all non-essential items like school bags etc. and they must be placed away from working area.
Safety precautions must be taken while working with hand and power tools. A First aid kit should be at the work place as minor injuries are part of making so it’s good to be prepared.
File Photo PSC: Habab idrees won1st prize at National science fair 2015 he design his project at PSC Lab.
Future impacts/benefits of Maker Space
The benefits and outcomes of the maker space / tinker’s lab are many as it lead the way to determination, creative problem solving, independence and preparation to the real world challenges. It could be the place that encourages the new generation to explore and solve big problems. It provides a chance to the students to see what they can do when they are not limited to books and exams. It is a space that open the doors of future skills and lifelong learning by promoting inter-disciplinary knowledge removing the subject barriers.