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Anatomy of a Makerspace


March 5, 2020



A space for innovation, creativity and collaborative problem solving

MAKERSPACES HAVE BEEN gaining popularity over the past decade in K–12 schools, libraries and post-secondary institutions. These spaces invite participants to be involved in innovation, ideation, invention and collaboration. One of the greatest strengths of makerspaces is their ability to connect students to the curriculum through authentic hands-on learning experiences. More than just a physical space, a makerspace is a mindset for creativity and problem solving. 

A makerspace does not have to be an entire room filled with thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. With simple, cost-effective materials, students can be inspired to design, improve and invent.


Here are some ideas of what could be included in a makerspace:

1. Makey Makey

The Makey Makey is an electronic invention kit for all ages that allows users to combine everyday objects with the internet. Using alligator clips attached to any conductive material, users can control their computer’s keyboard with everyday objects.

2. Breakerspace

Most stations in a makerspace encourage the construction of something. The breakerspace station encourages just the opposite. Technology and other classroom or household items are provided for students to disassemble, investigate and rebuild. Local reuse centres are a great source of materials.

3. Robotics

Robots are machines that can do three things: sense, act and think. They can help students gain powerful knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Instead of having students just use robots, choose robots they can either build themselves or transform with maker materials. Robots are now available that are accessible to students of all ages and abilities, such as Dash and Dot, Kibo, Cublets, K8, Mbot and Lego.

4. Media creation

Media creation consists of the use of green screen technology, stop-motion animation and digital storytelling apps and programs available for tablets, laptops and desktop computers, and smartphones. These applications are user friendly and enable people of all ages to learn how to use green screen technology, stop- motion animation and digital-storytelling platforms. Teachers can use these apps across the curriculum to engage students and enhance the presentation of student-created projects. This is also a powerful way to document the process of learning and ideation in a makerspace.

5. Coding

Coding, also called computer programming, is a series of instructions to a computer in a specific computer-based language such as Python, HTML, Java, C++ and more. Traditionally, these computer languages were reserved for university-level students and were intensely complicated. But now coding has never been more accessible to students of all ages! Thanks to block-based coding languages, students and teachers can learn to code in a safe and easy environment. There are many free and easy platforms to help you get started, such as Scratch, Google CS First, Kids Code Jeunesse and Canada Learning Code. 

6. Recycled materials

Students use recycled materials to create new inventions. The beauty of this space is that it is nearly free! Students can contribute items from home: boxes, cans, bottles, bags, shop materials, fabric, toothpicks, popsicle sticks—anything! All a teacher needs to provide are a variety of common craft materials: glue, tape, paper, scissors, glitter, cotton balls, pompoms, doilies, paint … whatever you have on hand! 


Information provided by the ATA’s Educational Technology Council and from, created by Alberta teacher Trisha Roffey and used with permission.

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