#uasrobotics Week 7 Rules:

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.


8 thoughts on “#uasrobotics Week 7 Rules:

  1. Ali- I believe that is the best way to introduce tools as well. Introduce it just like you would any lesson. That is a good idea of doing a KWL of what students know what a MakerSpace is. I am curious as well as how many of my students know what a MakerSpace is or have done this sort of activity in another school. I am sure they have but wonder how many. I will have to use this question as well. That is another good idea of getting ideas from students so they have ownership as well. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that a KWL chart is a smart way to go. I forget that students sometimes are more familiar with things than I am…just because it is new to me does not mean that it is new to them! Ali, what grade level are you teaching this fall?


  2. Thank you for sharing the Powtoon video of the Makerspace safety rules, direct and to the point. I like that you included have fun and be creative to your rules. Great idea about the anchor chart of what it looks like the Makerspace and including the responsibilities of the teacher and the students. I will have to wait until I have my Makerspace set up so I know what all I have to work with before deciding on what the rules will be. I know that I will have my students assist in making them so that they take ownership. One of my ideas is that once we have decided on on beginning rules students will make posters to put up around the Makerspace as a reminder. As my Makerspace evolves so will the rules.


  3. Your idea of soliciting kids ideas/suggestions about the rules is excellent. As Theresa said, it builds ownership. I also liked your idea about asking kids what they already know about the tools and if they’ve seen parent or grandparents use them. You may learn things about some of the tools you never knew before. The parents of some of our kids may be experts in various forms of construction, art, engineering, etc. This may lead to the discovery potential parent helpers.


  4. I completely agree with having the rule, “We don’t waste supplies.” That’s a rule we instituted at our school’s Art Camp at the end of this school year because we were seeing a lot of students who weren’t respecting the materials. One of my frustrations is seeing students get frustrated in class and then crumple up or destroy their work. I’m hoping that’s not a wide-spread phenomenon that many other teachers have to deal with, but I know it’s been an issue for me. In general, it’s good to teach students not to be wasteful. Projects and materials can be recycled and re-purposed in surprising ways.


    1. Teaching 3rd grade I had students who would do that. They would often ask to start over. I can’t remember what I would say to them. It would often happen because students would compare theirs to their peers artwork. Maybe since a makerspace is more individual, students creating their own work, there won’t be as much of that.


  5. I like how you said you would want your students’ input. I can’t believe I overlooked that in my rules. I really believe in student ownership of the rules so I usually have my class come up with the classroom rules – with guidance from me 😉 It makes total sense to do the same with the makerspace. I like how you kept it simple. After reading your rules I need to include something about sharing and not wasting supplies.


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