Steamboat Springs High School MakerSpace inspires hands-on STEAM learning | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs High School MakerSpace inspires hands-on STEAM learning

Steamboat Springs High School students work on building towers in the school's MakerSpace.

— A new club and repurposed media center at Steamboat Springs High School are paving the way for students to engage in more hands-on learning and creation.

With the help of more than $22,000 grant funding, the media center is now a MakerSpace, with tools and materials to inspire more STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) learning.

The space has two 3D printers, a poster printer, art supplies, robotics equipment, building blocks and other materials and is accessible to all students looking to make something.

MakerSpaces are a growing in popularity in public libraries and on school campuses across the country, providing an accessible space and hands-on learning for students, according to STEM coach Anne Barbier and media specialist Nicole DeCrette.

"We're looking at how to bring making and creating back into the classroom," Barbier said. "We're trying to move towards creating versus consumption."

The SSHS MakerSpace was funded by a $15,000 Innovation Grant from the Education Fund Board during its last cycle, as well as a $5,000 Canvas Grant and $2,500 from the school's Parent Information Committee.

The grants helped pay for two $1,300 3D printers and other materials as well as the cost to reconfigure the school's media center and put fresh, colorful paint on the walls.

The MakerSpace is accessible to all students, who are able to come into the space on a drop-in basis, and are not required to take a certain class to use the MakerSpace materials.

“You don’t have to be enrolled in a certain class or make it to a certain level,” DeCrette said.

Some teachers bring entire classes in to to use the MakerSpace equipment, and individual students use the MakerSpace for class assignments or their own projects.

Students have designed and 3D printed cases for their phones while others are using the poster printer to enlarge photos they snapped using their iPhones.

"It's a safe environment where they can tinker around with the equipment," Barbier said.

While students at SSHS are making good use of the MakerSpace, Barbier and DeCrette are hopeful more of the community can play a role in the MakerSpace and in supporting STEAM education throughout the community.

The teachers are working to form Steamboat Makers, a community group dedicated to STEAM education and MakerSpaces, and are hopeful community members will be interested in getting involved.

Mothers and daughters interested in getting a closer look at the MakerSpace can sign up to take a 3D printing class to make jewelry from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 at the space. RSVPs are required by emailing DeCrette at ndecrette@ssk12.org.

This November, DeCrette and Barbier plan to hold a community information session to spread the word about the MakerSpace and encourage community members to visit the space and work with students.

A Steamboat Mini Maker Faire is also in the works for May.

For more information about the MakerSpace or to get on the group's email list, email steamboatmakersco@gmail.com or find the group on Facebook by searching Steamboat MakerSpace.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow