By Daniel E. McGonigle
The Caledonia Argus
While not yet complete, several students have been given a taste of the new “Makerspace” room at Caledonia Area Elementary.
“It’s evolving,” smiled elementary principal Gina Meinertz.
The room, made possible thanks to grants by the ISD #299 Foundation, includes space for students to be creative.
“It is based on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathmatics),” Meinertz said.
So the grant helped purchase several educational aids that help students specific to those fields.
Meinertz and her staff began working on creating the space a few months ago.
And as it is nearing being unveiled to the students, several students have begun using the space, and the feedback has been nothing short of spectatular.
“They love it,” Meinertz said of the students who have had the chance to use the Makerspace.
Sheri Allen, JrFLL coach uses the space for her lego league.
One of the changes yet to come to the room is that of a “lego wall.”
“Students will be able to build out from the wall,” Meinertz noted. “And other students will be able to add to the creations.”
Why a Makerspace?
Meinertz said she has been talking with several schools who have such a room in their buildings to get ideas.
“Byron is the one who is closest to us,” she said. “They’re doing some really neat things with it.”
Meinertz said that the research she has done signified this is yet another way education is evolving.
“The students really respond to this type of learning,” she said.
Meinertz plans to begin hosting classrooms to “teach the teachers” how the spaces could be incorporated into their lessons.
Blocks of time have been carved out this week and classes will come to the room to learn what is possible.
Meinertz said once the teachers learn how the space is intended to be used, classes can reserve the room for their usage.
“Students can also use the room as reward for Warrior Way tickets,” Meinertz said.
When a student is seen going out of his or her way helping another student, working hard, etc… he or she is given a Warrior Way ticket.
Those tickets, when enough are accumulated, can be used for various awards such as sitting in the principals chair for a day or eating lunch with principal, etc…
“This will be another incentive that students who are displaying the Warrior Way can choose,” Meinertz said.
None of this would’ve been possible without the help of grants; the learning materials were made possible by the grants.
Families can donate rugs, legos and other learning materials to the space.
“We appreciate all the help we can get,” Meinertz said.