What are the rules for your makerspace?
Chapter nine of Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Martinez & Stager 2013) raised many good issues about makerspace rules and had good suggestions on how to determine rules for a makerspace. As stated by Martinez & Stager (2013), “Once you have decided what kinds of equipment you will begin with, find ways for students to access that equipment that balances safety and security with creativity and a sense of ownership.” My idea of starting a makerspace would involve introducing what a makerspace is, as I would introduce any activity. I would also approach the rules and responsibilities the same way I would for setting up class rules or my expectations for center activities. I would probably do some sort of KWL activity to find out the students’ background knowledge of makerspaces. I would create an anchor chart, as a class, of what it would look like while participating in the makerspace. What the teacher would be doing and what students would be doing, much like the daily five anchor charts for reading centers. Then we would talk at length about the makerspace tools/materials and how to use them, again I would find out what they already know about tools, if they have seen them used by parent, grandparents, etc. If there were issues with students not being safe while using tools, we would stop and meet as a class to discuss how to ensure safety in our makerspace. According to Hlubinka (2013), “Makerspace users of all ages need to be trained in safely operating tools before using them. And they also need reminders.”
So what would my makerspace rules be?…I would want student input (with my guidance) in the makerspace rules, so students feel like they have ownership in the space. I would want rules about safety, cleaning up, and sharing. Frank Antonides School in New Jersey has a Powtoon video of their makerspace rules (http://www.wlbschools.com/Page/1594). Their rules are:
- Supplies are shared
- Follow safety rules
- We don’t waste supplies
- You must clean up after yourself
- Be creative and have fun
I think these rules are straight forward, but require discussion on what each rule would look like in the makerspace. I like the “we don’t waste supplies” rule. That rule goes along with the makerspace philosophy that anything and everything can be used to make something. In the article Safety in School Makerspaces I like the one page document Common Safety Rules. The rules that I would like to use in my space were:
- Post emergency number 911
- Safety is our top. If you are not sure what you are doing, ask.
- Never use a broken tool
- Do not remove tools from room
I’m sure my students will come up with some great rules/expectations for our makerspace, they usually do when it comes to class rules. After some time of working in our makerspace, as a class, we would re-examine our rules and see if we need to add or change any rules.
Common safety rules. Retrieved June 30, 2015, from http://cdn.makezine.com/uploads/2013/08/commonsafetyrules.pdf
Hlubinka, M. (2013, August 21). Safety in school makerspaces. Retrieved June 30, 2015, from http://makezine.com/2013/09/02/safety-in-school-makerspaces/
Maker Club / Maker Club Rules. Retrieved June 30, 2015, from http://www.wlbschools.com/page/1594
Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.