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Snapshot 2 of 2: Create an Easy, Affordable Classroom Makerspace

[Listen and learn : Snapshot]

Wednesday, June 29, 10:15–11:15 am
CCC 401, Table 2

favoritesPaul Reynolds  favoritesDr. Peggy Healy Stearns  
Create a compelling classroom makerspace using easy CAD software for grades 3-8. Engage students in making pop-ups, 3D solids, working machines and Smithsonian Invention kits. We'll share projects from simple to sophisticated using tools from hand fabrication to inexpensive 2D cutters to 3D printers and laser cutters. Research-based lessons support standards.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Constructivist learning/maker movement
Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: Students : Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making
Students : Communication and collaboration
Students : Creativity and innovation
Additional detail: ISTE Professional Learning Network pick

Related exhibitors: favorites Canon USA, Inc., favorites FableVision

Digital tote resources
Description: Presentation URL

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

There is widespread call for increased STEM / STEAM education and a growing interest in the maker movement in education. Much of the buzz is about 3D printers, and many schools have rushed to invest in this technology. However, there are a variety of additional options for classroom maker spaces suited to a range of budgets and technical expertise.

Participants in this session will learn how to create a compelling, practical and affordable classroom maker space that provides an onramp to engineering and STEAM education for elementary and middle school classrooms. They will learn how to engage students with a range of projects from simple to sophisticated – from pop-ups to geometric solids and packages to working machines that support math, science, engineering and ISTE standards. Attendees will leave with an understanding of technology options from simple to sophisticated including hand tools, inexpensive digital cutters, 3D printers, and laser cutters.

Participants will receive access to standards-based lessons, including the Smithsonian Invention Kits, which involve students in generating multiple iterations that require evaluation, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making as they work through the engineering process. Attendees will also receive an overview and trial access to Maker Studio, easy CAD software for grades 3-8. They will also receive information on inexpensive digital cutters like the Silhouette as well as 3D printers like the Afinia.

The presenters will share preliminary findings from NSF grant-funded Laboratory School for Advanced Manufacturing, the Noyce Foundation pilot, and the Alcoa Foundation pilot.


• Partners and roles
• Goals
• Cut by hand
• Inexpensive digital cutters like the Silhouette
• 3D printers
• Resin casting from cardstock models
• Laser cutters
• Pop-ups
• Geometric constructions
• Electronic circuitry
• Working machines
• Smithsonian Invention Kits
• Scaffolding with ready-made and step-by-step projects
• In school and out-of-school time (OST)
• Smithsonian Invention Kits
• Cross curricular integration and standards
• Recommendations for implementation
• NSF Laboratory School for Advanced Manufacturing
• Noyce Foundation Pilot
• Alcoa Foundation pilot
AUDIENCE FEEDBACK (throughout session as appropriate) (12 min)
• Q&A
• Suggestions for future development

Supporting research


Berry, R. Q., III, Bull, G., Browning, C., Thomas, C. D., Starkweather, K., & Aylor, J. H. (2010). Preliminary considerations regarding use of digital fabrication to incorporate engineering design principles in elementary mathematics education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 10(2), 167-172.

Bull, G. & Garofalo, J. (in press). Technologies to support engineering education. J. Michael Spector. (2013). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Technology doi:

Bull, G., Maddux, G., Marks, G., McAnear, A., Schmidt, D., Schrum, L., Smaldino, S., Spector, M., Sprague, D., & Thompson, S. (2010). Educational implications of the digital fabrication revolution. Journal of Research on Technology in Education. 331-338 Vol 42 Issue 4.

Bull, G., & Groves, J. (2009). The democratization of production. Learning and Leading with Technology, 37(3), 36-37.

Bull, G., Knezek, G., & Gibson, D. (2009). A rationale for incorporating engineering education into the teacher education curriculum. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(3). Retrieved from

Gershenfeld, N. (2005). Fab: The coming revolution on your desktop – from personal computers to personal fabrication. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Smith-Barrow, Delece (2014). Recruiting the next generation of STEM employees. U.S. News and World Report.


Piloting Smithsonian Invention Kits:

National Science Foundation: “Lab school brings manufacturing technologies to middle-school classrooms”.

Smithsonian Invention Kits:

Make to Learn:

Fab@School Maker Studio:

Curry Takes Engineering Projects into Local Elementary Classrooms:



favorites Paul Reynolds, Co-Founder, Reynolds Center TLC

favorites Dr. Peggy Healy Stearns, Reynolds Center TLC