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Elementary Makerspaces

STEMscopes

SAN ELIZARIO, TEXAS – The San Elizario Independent School District (SEISD) Elementary Makerspaces are the Home of the Maker's Mindset Imagination. It is a concept where Do It Yourself (DIY) converges with education. It is where the youth are at the center of the device that drives ideas into action. At SEISD, Makerspaces are a constructivist movement that is taking the world of education by storm!

A makerspace is a safe, collaborative workspace inside a school that explores, tinkers, creates, and shares ideas. The elementary maker spaces are not just a space but a mindset. The 21st-century students have created a culture to consume technology and innovate. As a result, students can discover, construct, and explore using divergent, "outside the box" thinking.

Borrego Elementary School was the first to pioneer this movement. The goal is to increase student engagement for all, create a culture of teamwork, and develop skill sets in students.

The ability to collaborate with a team, apply critical thinking, and communicate well is essential to students' future. Furthermore, the STEM jobs' projected growth is 8.8% between 2017 and 2029. (Via the US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Borrego's Makerspace creates an opportunity for this type of skill set. Rebecca Barrientos, the Borrego Makerspace instructor, and science aide, is the innovator of this movement. In the early days, her Makerspace consisted of simple activities. Since then, her actions have evolved into group engineering challenges, math, and science-based engineering design, various STEM projects, and coding the Sphero robot.

When you walk into her Makerspace, it is difficult not to become overwhelmed by the passion of both Ms. Barrientos and her students as they engage in challenging activities. The word FAIL, which means the first attempt in learning, is expected in the Makerspace as it has become part of the culture. Ms. Barrientos has instilled a Maker's Mindset in her students, promoting the belief that success is not solely dependent on positive outcomes. According to Ms. Barrientos, her vision for her Makerspace is to "create a space where students can explore, open their imaginations, and challenge themselves." She wants students to "learn to take failure in stride and remember that learning can be fun."

The latest project is STEM Art. Students created an image and used the concept of conductors and insulators to light it up. The Borrego Makerspace has paved the way for our other elementary campuses to create and customize their own.

Sambrano Elementary School and Loya Primary School have created grade-appropriate spaces for their littles. Ms. Patsy Cortez, Sambrano's Makerspace instructor and science aide, has designed a safe space where students can play and persevere to their heart's content. Through exploration and purposeful play, students have become critical thinkers and inventors. Ms. Cortez's philosophy is to let her kids "dream big, take risks and let their imaginations run wild."

With the success of Makerspaces in neighboring campuses, the Alarcon Elementary School Makerspace is forthcoming and will no doubt be a fantastic hub of confidence, creativity, and transformation.