Recently, the Children’s Theatre Troup directed by Kelsey Brown presented “Another Kid’s Treasure Island” at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. This play also featured a makerspace activity for attendees to use a variety of objects to make something new.
Gretchen Thomas and her UGA students helped pack hundreds of plastic coconuts with craft supplies to support the play, but several coconuts were left over. Our makerspace was fortunate enough to acquire these leftover coconuts for students to explore.
This week, we’ve been reading The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. I love the message that this book shares about perseverance and creativity. The character in the book tries multiple ways to make the thing she has in her head, but she just can’t get it quite right. At first, she easily starts over, but as time goes on, she gets pretty frustrated. However, even then, she goes on a walk to clear her mind. While reading the story, we paused along the way to setup some steps for “making”.
- Have an initial plan after you gather your supplies
- Try to make something
- Take a look at what you’ve made and try again if needed
- If something isn’t working, try to do it in a different way
- If you start to feel frustrated, take a break or a walk, and come back
- Don’t quit
We could keep adding to this list, but those were the basic principles we followed.
I showed students one of the plastic coconuts filled with supplies and told them that their goal was to take the materials and make something new. We talked about how the girl in the story made something she could actually use, so they certainly could try to make something like a piece of jewelry, a hat, a container for rocks, or whatever else they wanted.
I also put out some scissors, glue, crayons, and markers. Then, students got to work. Each student had a different strategy for how to work. Some got very frustrated and did indeed take a walk around the library. Some students collaborated with people at their table or traded supplies with a friend. It was loud and messy, but I heard things from students like:
- Is makerspace always this fun?
- Do we really get to keep the things that we made?
- When can I come back?
- From a teacher: My students talked about what they did with you the whole next day.
You could look at this and say….sure….this is just making a craft, but there’s really so much more there.
Perseverance, problem solving, creativity, inventing, collaboration, and more were all there. Thank you to Gretchen Thomas for giving us an opportunity to bring makerspace to some of our grades who haven’t had a chance to use our makerspace quite as much. We have a lot of new students excited about finding more opportunities to use the tools in our makerspace because of this opportunity.