Funding from NAPS has enabled the Northumberland Middle School to acquire a variety of materials for the Library Media Center “Think Tank” – the name of the school makerspace.
The designated makerspace area in the library media center provides equal access to all members of the school community, enabling a diverse cross-pollination of abilities, ages and experience to work together productively.
The makerspace contains resources for designing, constructing, building, programming and creating – bringing together the many diverse subject areas that have left many students perplexed about their value. A non-threatening collaborative environment where the diversity and cross-pollination of activities are critical to the exploration, design and creative process, resulting in a natural assimilation of the engineering design cycle with particular emphasis and support of Project-Based Learning.
Research shows that personalized, hands-on practices engage students more actively in learning. Educators know that when students are using their hands and creating, they are engaged. When students can see, touch, show, explain and use physical results of their efforts, they know they have accomplished something valuable. Hands-on activities help learners expand their thinking skills and find success when attempting to solve problems.
By providing a welcoming, collaborative, user-friendly environment all members of the school community can:
Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.
Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge.
Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society.
Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.
(National School Library Standards - AASL – standards.aasl.org)
Tinkering, collaborative learning, play, conversations for learning, intergenerational learning, experimentation, inquiry, the act of creation, and problem solving – these are individually and collaboratively made possible through the acquisition of the following items:
Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Big Box: Q-BA-MAZE 2.0 is a unique system of colorful cubes that interlock to form a marble run. Critical thinking skills are used to construct original mazes which strengthens STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), physics, basic engineering, strategy & fine-motor skills while expanding creativity, cooperation and logical thinking. (Pictured at top, ©2019 MindWare.)
Gears! Gears! Gears! 150-Piece Super Building Set: A hands-on construction set that builds STEM skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and perseverance. The colorful, spinning gears will set imaginations in motion, encouraging kids to imagine and build creatures, towers and more. Open-ended components mean there’s no wrong way to build which develops fine motor skills and sensory integration.
Arckit CityScape: Designed to encourage creative thinking, communication of design, problem solving skills and skill advancement in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math). Young minds can create a variety of architectural structures. This set also includes free access to the Arkitexture Library and Arckit Digital. (Pictured left, ©2019 MindWare.)
Sprirograph Deluxe Kit: Aspiring artists can create millions of amazing designs with the Spirograph Deluxe Set which fosters creativity and originality.
Rubik’s Cube: The classic hand-held puzzle designed to develop inquiry and reasoning skills as well as perseverance.
Cool Circuits Puzzle: Students can work individually or cooperatively to form a complete circuit. Cool Circuits includes a total of 40 puzzles. They are divided into four levels of difficulty: tutorial, beginner, student, and advanced. The card illustrates a segment of the correct solution along with a few hints as to how to place your pieces. This activity is designed to strengthen abstract thinking, deductive reasoning and spatial visualization
Q-bitz: Q-bitz offers three types of visual challenges, making it the perfect game for multiple playing styles. Teaches symmetry, visual dexterity and friendly competition and stimulates the brain to use spatial reasoning and memory skills.
Straws & Connectors: A hands-on construction set that builds STEM skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and perseverance. Open-ended components mean there’s no wrong way to build which develops fine motor skills and sensory integration.
NMS extends a “huge thank you” to NAPS for funding these new components of the “Think Tank.”