Soaring Creativity Flourishes in Makerspace
A weekly programme at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) is getting our students’ creative juices flowing all while learning new things, problem-solving, and exploring.
The makerspace is an Odette Library Learning Commons initiative where students can drop in during 3A or 3B lunches every Wednesday to explore and build creations using the wide variety of tools available.
“It is open to all grades, but the intermediate school specifically since they do not have a technological design course,” says Lisa Lipetz, SMCS teacher librarian, who launched the programme in October 2022.
Students have access to 3D pens, glue guns, woodworking tools, motors, a Cricut machine, button making machine, and many other materials including upcycled items.
“They learn how to use the various tools safely and effectively, before they start building and creating,” says Lipetz adding that Odette Library staff help facilitate the programme by supervising and teaching students the safety procedures around the different tools.
“The makerspace helped me learn how to make stuff independently and manage what is around me,” says Mark Kelly, Grade 7, who typically uses the space for various projects he’s working on every other week.
“The idea is to provide a low stake environment that gives students space to fail and problem solve. In a makerspace, the goal is the exploration itself, not the end product,” she says. “This provides valuable experience for students and helps them think more creatively about handling obstacles.”
“It’s fun to make things and put your mind to use and create whatever you want,” says Nico Rizzuto, Grade 9. “There are so many supplies to work with like glue guns and 3D pens. I made a stand for my laptop a couple of months ago. It ended up not being very durable, but it was really fun to do.”
The makerspace is set up in the Transformer Room, located right next door to the Odette Library Learning Commons. In the summer of 2021, the room was renovated to replace a PC Lab following the school’s move to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme.
“The concept was to have a multi-use room that could accommodate multiple classes and could be easily configured for various purposes,” says David Lee ’94, vice principal at SMCS. “It’s used for classes, workshops, meetings, etc. It was intended to resemble the workspaces in tech companies like Google in that it was dynamic and flexible and could be used for nearly any purpose due to the technology and multiple whiteboards.”
Recently, John Mandawe’s Grade 7 math students made use of the makerspace with Lipetz’s support to create three-dimensional shapes for their geometry unit on polyhedrons. The students used the knowledge they had acquired so far to create a prism, pyramid, and cylinder.
“Working in pairs, the students used different materials to build each 3D shape,” says Lipetz. “When they return to class, they will use their awesome polyhedrons as hands-on learning tools. They will learn how to measure and calculate the surface area and volume of their respective objects.”
“It was great seeing the students collaborating and trying out different materials and techniques as they built their three polyhedrons,” she adds.
Odette Library Learning Commons