There’s a new hum in Spartan Library at Spearfish High School and teacher-librarian Emily Benvenga is excited about it. Thanks to support from a local grant from the Spearfish Foundation for Public Education, Spartan Library now has a Makerspace. In addition to the recording/green screen studio she had already set up, Emily has been able to invest in KEVA planks, a MakeyMakey & Raspberry Pi, Circuit Scribe, origami supplies and books, Sphero SPRK, Strawbees, and more.
Before writing the grant, which she co-wrote with elementary teacher-librarian Alisa Bentley, Emily surveyed students both formally (Google Form survey) and informally (student conversations). With this feedback Emily was able to gauge the types and amounts of materials she would purchase. She also used this information to decide when the Makerspace would be open for student use. For her school, it works to have students use the Makerspace before school, during free blocks/time, and during study hall. Coincidentally, students are naturally using the items for class projects.
Emily commented: “It’s been a little bit scary and unnatural for me as a teacher to give up control and let students explore, but they (students) are absolutely craving it. It's very rewarding to see evidence of natural curiosity.”