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Extending the Art Room: Making a Makerspace

Makerspaces seem to be popping up everywhere right now- regular education classrooms, libraries, even mobile makerspace carts are roaming down school hallways. No matter what the physical space may be, makerspaces all have one essential goal- to empower students to collaboratively create,  innovate, and learn through choice, experimentation, and play.

Makerspaces are a natural extension of the art room.

As the “maker movement” gains momentum, makerspaces seem to incorporate more and more technology-based tools and materials. 3D printers, Spheros, and Snap Circuits are currently popular but can be spendy choices when servicing a large number of students. The beauty of the “maker movement” is that it doesn’t have to be an expensive mission for your school or department to take on. Tactile activities are just as important as the tech options, and diversity in your makerspace materials leads to more authentic tinkering and exploration.

If collecting and organizing a new batch of supplies overwhelms you, start simply. Think about concentrating on one or two kinds of materials and stock up on the tools and materials you’d need for your students to engage authentically. The simplest of materials can sometimes be the best of choices!

makerspace supplies

On the other hand, as art teachers, we are savvy when saving, collecting and possibly, even hoarding supplies as usable materials in art class. Do the same for makerspace supply options. Accept recycled and cast-off materials from staff and community members. A simple email to parents asking for donations will typically drive in hoards of usable materials.

To help you get started on developing a makerspace in your art room or school, we’ve compiled a list of various media and tool options. Since supply lists can be as diverse as the spaces and makers themselves, it’s impossible to create an all-inclusive inventory of what you might need, but this list is a well-rounded start. Take a peek and download your copy below.

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Want to discover more about makerspaces, design thinking, STEAM curriculum and all aspects of Project-Based Learning? Join us for our new course, Project Based Art Room. Find out more about this exciting and innovative course here.

What would you consider adding to a makerspace?

What is the most unusual supply your students have had success with when tinkering?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.

Tracy Hare

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Tracy Hare, a middle school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She strives to deepen students’ 21st-century skills by encouraging them to practice critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.

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