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The Makerspace at Analy High School in Sebastopol hosted our very first Educators’ Workshop on November 17th. The workshop was created by our MENTOR Makerspace school liaisons Isaac and Stephanie in response to numerous requests from teachers looking for very basic instruction on how to use hand tools. Participants learned to use a variety of tools while building the rolling tool carts that will eventually contain all the tools for a “Makerspace in a Box” provided to the MENTOR Makerspace schools.

Twenty-five people, including eight high school students (and one six-year-old who tagged along with a parent!), attended the workshop. They represented 11 of our 15 MENTOR Makerspace pilot schools. Judging from the feedback (and the fact that every school completed the toolbox), the event was a huge success.

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Isaac and Stephanie started at 10:30 am with a quick run-through of the three major components of the tool cart: the top and bottom, the interior structure and the doors. We then divided our workspace at Analy into three sections to create an assembly line. After the half-hour introduction, the sound of saws and drills filled the air along with the chatter of instructions, questions and conversation.

A common theme in many conversations with our schools is how to teach making. Our teachers say it is more like ‘enabling and getting out of the way’ than what most people consider teaching. This was certainly the case on Saturday. I watched Dante and Hillel show a group how to create a “jig”, a tool to used to guide a circular “chop” saw to cut multiple pieces of wood the same length. I saw Rachel Ayres learn how to use a chop saw and then teach a group of students.

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Later, Rusila from Latino College Prep in San Jose learned how to “square” doors, ensuring the pieces are properly aligned at right angles before using a pneumatic stapler to attach them together.  She then turned around and showed the next team what to do!

Here are a few of the comments from our teachers:

  • “This was an amazing experience, and that is just what I need…experience. I may not be great at using a drill or miter saw yet, but I am confident in my ability to progress, and am way better than I was last Friday!  I left feeling proud of myself. I want my students to feel this too.”
  • “I enjoyed working together with other passionate educators. I learned a lot through the process and made a great product.”
  • “This workshop will parallel projects that I can provide to students in my classroom and is an IDEAL approach. Will participate again, and bring the same kids.”
  • “I found value in being able to extract certain elements of the project-building and apply them to the needs of my classroom. For example, I can take from the entire project the “chunk” focused on building the wheeled platform and use that element in another project used in class. I hope to be able to use some parts of future MakerSpace projects as “foundational” elements for my own projects. Similarly, I feel I am able to guide my students on basic use of some power tools (in a safe manner).”

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By 6 o’clock, we had 25 exhausted people and 12 completed tool boxes along with lots of high fives and smiles of satisfaction. It seemed as if every person had managed to touch every tool during the course of the build.

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Learn more about how and what we did on November 17th in our Makerspace Educators’ Workshop overview:
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Look for more Educator Workshops soon!

 

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