September 2019
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Creative Learning Rooms Are Now Open at HMS and Stewart — And Students Love Them!

Last year, the brand-new Makerspace library made its debut at the high school and really hit it out of the park. In fact, students and teachers had such positive responses to the creative learning space that similar rooms are now available at the middle and elementary schools.

At Huston Middle School, the new Makerspace room, which is run by Mr. Shaun Reddick, got up and running last month. Much like the Makerspace library at the high school, teachers can reserve spots for their classes to use the middle school Makerspace room, which has an endless number of applications. From robotics classes to art classes and everything in between, the middle school Makerspace can be used for virtually any class or learning objective.

“This is something that can be used across the board,” says Reddick, “and the kids are really excited about it. I have students wanting to come down every morning to work on their projects.”

For example, eighth-grade students are currently working on building robots using the space, seventh-grade ELA students are working with Hummingbird Robotics kits, sixth-graders are using 3-D printers for a research and design course, and art classes plan to use 3-D pens for future projects.

Makerspace is aimed at providing students with a creative, hands-on approach to education, which inherently fosters the “Four Cs” of learning: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. By using this space to supplement traditional curriculum, students will ultimately receive a more well-rounded and balanced overall learning experience, as well as new skillsets relevant to today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world.

“The goal is to hopefully enhance curriculum as it is being taught,” Reddick says. “We want to connect the current curriculum to the outside world and show students how what they’re learning today can be used in real life.”

The creative learning process that Makerspace promotes also has numerous applications at the elementary level. Students at Stewart Elementary now also have access to a new hands-on learning space called the Tinker Lab, which is equipped with everything from legos to hand tools to robotics kits.

“The Tinker Lab gives our students the opportunity to create, design, build, and explore throughout the course of the year,” says Stewart principal Mr. Jim Croushore.

Currently, science classes are using the room, and individual teachers will be able to hold their classes in the Tinker Lab as a supplement to their regular curriculum when appropriate.

According to Croushore, the creative learning possibilities of the new Tinker Lab really are endless. Most recently, hand tools have been added to the room, and this marks just the beginning of planned expansions.

“The addition of the hand tools is a preview of what we would like to accomplish with further developing the Tinker Lab to meet the needs of our students. We are currently exploring grant opportunities in the hope of adding more tools and learning opportunities in the near future.”

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