Loya Primary STEAM Makerspace
Pictured: Prek-3 students Emiliano Jasso & Jane Rose Burrough
SAN ELIZARIO, TEXAS – The Loya Primary School Eagles get so excited about visiting the excellent makerspace classroom. Each week, the STEAM makerspace is a highlight for young students. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. (STEAM).
Students first begin by exploring the STEAM stations. Students get to explore stations set up according to the alignment of the academic theme their classroom teachers are currently working on. Together with the Science Lab Instructional Aide, Mrs. Rita Baca, and Loya teachers, design the stations to engage students through hands-on experiences about each content area for 21st-century skills. Through Makerspace, Loya Eagles explore, create, problem-solve, and recently added sketching and drawing this year to represent the Fine Arts component. Students are encouraged to do their best as they rotate through each themed station.
In speaking to Mrs. Baca, she states, "I collaborate with teachers to align the weekly activities to ensure there is always a connection to literacy, so our young students engage with good literature." As an example, in the story of the 5 Little Pumpkins, written by Ben Mantle, each station is set up with an assortment of manipulatives and supplies so they can complete the assigned task. Students are encouraged to use their creativity to design their unique products. As Students rotate each area, they are focused on the skill that matches the core subject. It varies from sorting and fitting in with Mathematics, designing, or sketching concentrating on the fine arts area, and, most importantly, to use the engineering model design.
In makerspace, students learn to collaborate. During each station, students develop their exploration skills through play. During this time, learners know to rotate from one center to the next by following the rituals and routines as they follow the maze of arrows leading them to the next station. In addition, the students practice the campus PBIS core values of being safe, respectful, being responsible, and ready to learn.
Students gain confidence in themselves during their time in makerspace, build their academic and social vocabulary, and learn to defend their final products. At the beginning of the school year, students doubt themselves and comment, "I can't do it, " but they succeed with trial and error and positive encouragement! Students leave feeling proud of their accomplishments.
Students have experienced success in makerspace and recently rose to the challenge presented to Loya Primary with the story Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds. The challenge for students involved creating a fence using materials such as popsicle sticks, clothespins, clay, toothpicks, and pasta. Each classroom was responsible for taking on the challenge with students due to their experience and exposure to the engineering design model in makerspace. The results were something to be admired by all. A sense of pride by students as they completed the challenge. According to Principal Mrs. Julissa Esquivel, she states, "Our little Eagles will continue to soar as they continue their flight with STEAM!"