Makerspace Making Its Way To LHS
Everyone agrees that a successful 21st century education model calls for increased opportunities for students in creative thinking and hands-on learning. Thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation, Lakewood High will soon have a dedicated space for just that.
The Makerspace room will be a place where students will be encouraged to explore, discover, dream, create, produce, and collaborate using a variety of tools and materials. Two of the educators who have spearheaded the Makerspace project, technology teachers Jaime Chanter and Molly Spurlock, envision the space, which they aim to open in January, to be a place to nurture a culture of creativity and discovery.
“We want it to be a place where kids can go and hang out and be social” and share their creative ideas, said Chanter. Students would be able to use the space, which will be located in a room off the new media center, during lunch or study hall and before and after school. The committee that put the proposal together also foresees the space being a great resource for teachers to bring their classes and for students to create capstone projects.
The Rangers Education Foundation grant, coupled with a large donation the Foundation received a number of years ago to fund a Makerspace at LHS, will be used to outfit the room with all varieties of equipment students can use to create such as 3D printer and 3D engraver, Raspberry Pi single-board computers, a variety of robotic kits, virtual reality headsets, and animation and video tools. There will be space for low-tech creativity as well such as sewing, knitting, paper projects, etc.
Eventually, the hope is to open the space to the community as well.
Chanter and Spurlock see community and collaboration as key goals for the Makerspace. Specifically, they want to provide a space that can “build confidence in young students to embrace STEAM, especially girls” and to “bring together teachers in a social environment to spark collaboration."
Principal Keith Ahearn is grateful for the opportunity the Rangers Education Foundation grant has provided. “Because of the foundation's generosity and the hard work of LHS teacher leaders Jaime Chanter, Ken Kozar, Molly Spurlock and Sandy Storey, we will be able to bring tools to LHS that will allow our students to create, innovate and explore using 21st century technology.”
This latest grant from LREF is just one of many that has helped the District provide the best learning opportunities in the best facilities it can. Since 2013, Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation has provided more than $500,000 in grants. That money has gone toward a broad range of purposes from student scholarships, to classroom grants, to private music lessons to art preservation such as the Schreckengost mural in the new high school cafeteria.
The foundation recently raised more than $100,000 from its inaugural Purple & Gold Gala that will be able to make more exciting and creative opportunities like Makerspace possible.