Project Description

PAMS Makerspace Design Challenge

Contact Teacher: Melanie Myer

Number of Students Participating: 40

Date of Completion: Field trip on 6/6/18

Project Results:

There were two parts to our project. A field trip to the State Library and the purchase of spheros for our future makerspace.

At the end of the school year, we were able to go to the State Library in Harrisburg. We received a tour of the facility along with seeing many machines, old and new. This experience allowed our middle schoolers to hear about a variety of makerspace equipment and resources; many of which they have not heard of. They were able to see a 3-D printer at work and they were given a design challenge to complete.

During their time at the State Library, our students were increasing their STEM skills of critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. As you can see from the pictures, students were put into small groups to complete their task. Some groups were ‘successful’ and some were not. This was again a reminder that design challenges are not able the final product, but the process along the way.

While we were traveling to and from school many students couldn’t stop talking about our future makerspace. They are so excited to see the final product and they have tons of questions about all the items we will have in it.

Unanticipated benefits or challenges encountered with this project:

Since all of this occurred at the end of the school year and the spheros have been purchased for our future makerspace, none of our middle schoolers have had the opportunity to play with the spheros yet.

I know by their enthusiasm at the end of the school year, they are excited to come back this Fall!


Personal Reflection:

            As I am sure you are already aware, there were around 40 students who took on a challenge at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. Their challenge was to design our future middle school’s makerspace.

            On the day of the presentations, we started to see kids setting up their tables and minute by minute, we were getting very impressed. These kids not only presented well thought-out ideas, their modes of presentations were outstanding! One group even used virtual reality glasses to show us their design! That day, led to the beginning of this grant. 

At that time, I was currently taking classes at Lebanon Valley College for my STEM certification and I was learning about my local resources, one of which was the State Library in Harrisburg. I was curious myself about this makerspace. (I was told it was one of the best makerspaces in the area.) I contacted William Fee about touring the place myself and he informed me that he offers free field trips. I ignored his comment at first, knowing we did not have the resources to consider this trip. Then, I thought about this select group of kids. I mentioned to a coworker how neat it would be to ‘treat’ them to something like this. With the help of my coworkers, we decided to write this grant.

Going to the State Library was a nice treat, but this grant was really more than that. It was a chance for the kids to see more than they ever knew about makerspaces. It was a chance to continue dreaming and designing their futures. So many of the kids told me they were excited to see what our middle school makerspace will look like. I know when they are able to get their hands on the equipment and spheros, it will just inspire them to another level.

STEM projects and STEM careers is their future. This grant helped our Palmyra Cougars taste their future and be inspired with 3-D printers, virtual reality glasses, k’nex, robotics, and so much more.

I also hope going on this trip, encourages them to take on more ‘makerspace’ types of challenges. We currently don’t provide many of these challenges during the school year. (This is one of the changes I am personally making in my new Math Connections course this school year. I will be providing STEM projects/challenges that could make a different in our school and/or our community. I am hoping to inspire kids to go beyond our four walls with their education.)

Thank you. Thank you for investing in our middle schoolers in the way you did. You have encouraged me and my future classroom, along with these students in so many ways.