To describe them simply, makerspaces are community centers with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone. These spaces can take the form of loosely-organized individuals sharing space and tools, for-profit companies, non-profit corporations, organizations affiliated with or hosted within schools, universities or libraries, and more. All are united in the purpose of providing access to equipment, community, and education, and all are unique in exactly how they are arranged to fit the purposes of the community they serve.

Makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering, fabrication and education. They are a fairly new phenomenon, but are beginning to produce projects with significant national impacts.


What do you need to know to get your Makerspace up and running?

playbook

Please submit your name and email to be sent this free Makerspace Playbook PDF.

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The Makerspace Playbook
guides those who are hoping to start a Makerspace at their school or in their community. We welcome your feedback on the kinds of things we should add to this Playbook, what you think we got right and wrong, and any changes you’d make in general.

Contents:

  1. Beginnings: what we’re doing and why; origins of the Maker movement
  2. Places: making a space more conducive to a community that makes together
  3. Tools & Materials: inventory, budgets, and strategies (see also High School Makerspace Tools & Materials: a companion document detailing the uses and costs of a fully stocked inventory for an in-school Makerspace.)
  4. Safety: planning for safety, signage, and common rules
  5. Roles: what teachers, students, shop managers, and mentors do in a Makerspace
  6. Practices: pedagogical approaches experienced makers use to support emerging makers
  7. A Year of Making: teacher Aaron Vanderwerff describes his experience making with students
  8. Projects: guiding novice makers as they build their skill set; sources for projects
  9. Startup: nuts and bolts of getting involved with the Makerspace network
  10. Documenting: sharing projects … and the stories behind their making
  11. Snapshots: four school-based Makerspaces in action
  12. Resources: helpful lists, forms, and templates

Other Resources from the Maker Shed

The Makerspace Workbench




The
Makerspace Workbench
creates a dynamic space for designing and building DIY electronic hardware, programming, and manufacturing projects. With this illustrated guide, you’ll learn the benefits of having a Makerspace—a shared space with a set of shared tools—that attracts fellow makers and gives you more resources to work with. You’ll find clear explanations of the tools, software, materials, and layout you need to get started—everything from basic electronics to rapid prototyping technology and inexpensive 3D printers.

A Makerspace is the perfect solution for many makers today. While you can get a lot done in a fully-decked out shop, you’ll always have trouble making space for the next great tool you need. And the one thing you really miss out on in a personal shop is the collaboration with other makers. A Makerspace provides you with the best of both worlds.

Perfect for any maker, educator, or community, this book shows you how to organize your environment to provide a safe and fun workflow, and demonstrates how you can use that space to educate others.



Tinkering




After-school and out-of-school programs—as well as home schooling—have been growing steadily for nearly a decade, but instructors are still searching for high-interest content that ties into science standards without the rigidity of current classroom canon. The author draws on more than 20 years of experience doing hands-on science to facilitate tinkering: learning science while fooling around with real things.

In this book, you’ll learn:

  • Tinkering techniques in key science areas
  • How to let kids learn science with hands-on tinkering
  • Engaging techniques for science learning at home, in school, or at a makerspace or library
  • Step-by-step instructions for activities that don’t end with a single project, but that provide many paths for “tinkering forward”