The Longfellow Makerspace
In the 2017-18 school year, our Makerspace will open, and we’ll offer an elective class called Makers Lab:
In this class, students will use the engineering design cycle of ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve to make creations of their own choice. Throughout the class students will learn skills on tools in papercraft, woodworking, sewing, electronics, and more, and will progress from teacher-guided projects to projects with high student autonomy and decision-making. Students who enjoy hands-on learning and making decisions for themselves should take this class.
Additionally, all Longfellow students will do STEAM projects in the Makerspace through science and other academic classes.
The Mission and Vision of the Longfellow Makerspace support the mission of Longfellow Middle School.
The mission of the Longfellow Makerspace is to enrich the academic and social experiences of Longfellow and BUSD students, families, staff, and community members through learner-led science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics projects that contribute our community.
At Longfellow, we believe in a rich academic experience that guides all of our students to academic excellence and to be able to make positive contributions in the world. We believe in reaching for equitable educational outcomes, working continuously to close the achievement gap, and our four school expectations of safety, respect, responsibility, and most of all being allies.
We are a “magnet” school that families choose, and as such, we have strong senses of community and solidarity between and among students, families, and staff. The collaborative spirit among teachers allows us to respond as a team to students’ needs and to create powerful, unique interdisciplinary learning experiences. We have a culture that values academic achievement.
We intend to open a maker space that will provide hands-on learning experiences and STEAM projects in our former cafeteria space. To accomplish this, we will need funding to pay for equipment such as tools and consumables, cooperation from our district’s facilities team, and time for teachers both to collaborate and for instructing students.
Our maker space will serve every student in our school through academic classes, most likely science. Additionally, student will receive enrichment in the makerspace through electives, the after school program, and Saturday academies. Our makerspace will also be a “hub” for maker projects in schools throughout our school district. We have partnered with the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, Maker Education, and school district leadership, and we will consult with students, teachers, families, and our school board.
We know that our students are most successful when their schoolwork is connected to their lives and when they get to express their own perspectives in their work. We have a huge achievement gap, especially in science, and about twice the amount of locally-identified “at-risk” students per capita as our school district as a whole. A maker program at Longfellow has the potential to reduce the achievement gap by providing an enriching, relevant, and rewarding educational experience to ALL of our students.
We will meet our goals when every student at Longfellow has a regularly-occurring maker experience. Additionally, the amount of students and families using the makerspace outside of the mandatory “class time” will indicate the extent to which our makerspace is seen as a “cool” and normal place to be and to hang out, like the library. We will also be successful when our students as well as students at other schools are producing project artifacts that demonstrate iterative design, mathematical precision, and usefulness.