The Gray Library Makerspace:
from concept to reality.
The Gray Elementary Library Makerspace opened in August 2017. Through the collaborative effort of our librarian, Mrs. Hervey, and our art teacher, Mr Gutting, the concept became a reality. They invested a tremendous amount of effort laying the foundation for a campus wide Makerspace program during the 2016-2017 school year.
The first step: build campus interest and support. Mrs. Hervey and Mr. Gutting set up a trial run by offering Makerspace activities in the library to 5th and 6th grade students during their grade level lunch. Students explored their creativity and problem solving skills as they built objects from recycled materials and experienced OzoBots, K'Nex, littleBits and Lego Mindstorms sets. The sessions were a huge success!
The second step: space. Mrs. Hervey and Mr. Gutting quickly realized that a dedicated space was need to house the supplies, materials, and kits. The library collection was weeded and rearranged over the course of the spring semester to allow for a designated Makerspace area. Bonus...the library location allows students to spread out, access reference materials, and utilize desktops, laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks.
The third step: funding. The enthusiastic student and teacher response encouraged Mrs. Hervey and Mr. Gutting to expand the program to include all of Gray's students, Pre-K through 6th grade, for the 2017-2018 school year. In order to serve the entire campus, additional funding was necessary. Mrs. Hervey and Mr. Gutting applied for, and received, two grants! The MetroTex Association of Realtors awarded the library $2,836 and the Mesquite Education Foundation awarded $1,891. The generosity of MetroTex Association of Realtors and the Mesquite Education Foundation enabled the purchase of four iPads, four Dash & Dot Robots, six Beebots, Keva Planks, Kid K'NEX and an assortment of supplies.
The next step will be written this year as the students of Gray Elementary explore, discover, collaborate, and create in the library's Makerspace!
The Next Step:
The 2017-2018 school year was amazing! The response from students and teachers was phenomenal. Classes participated in Makerspace activities over 260 times during the year and members of the Makerspace Club brought home the first place trophy from the MISD Code Play Talk Hackathon.
What started as lunch time activities for 5th and 6th grade students has developed into an exciting program for the entire school. Each year will bring more opportunities for the students at Gray Elementary to explore, discover, collaborate and create!