Rotary Swaps Makerspaces for Traditional Donation

Rotary Swaps Makerspaces for Traditional Dictionary Donation
Posted on 05/08/2019
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collage of photos of students helping to assemble makerspace cartsA donation from the Rotary Club of West Chester doubled as a hands-on learning experience for some Lakota elementary students.

Local Rotarians joined students at Freedom and Cherokee last week to help assemble the new mobile makerspaces that they gifted to each of Lakota’s eight elementary schools. The carts are a welcome addition to each school’s media center, which are gradually being transformed into innovation hubs - creative learning spaces marked by innovative learning tools that promote collaboration and creativity.

“With the redesigning of our media centers into Innovation Hubs and focusing our energy on personalized learning, the addition of these makerspaces has really helped us to build out this program,” said Freedom Principal Lance Green. "These units will allow us to store more real life teaching tools to prepare our students for their future." 

Makerspaces are dedicated areas that promote learning through play and experimentation. They are stocked with everyday tools and materials, like popsicle sticks, cotton balls and paper towel rolls for example, that encourage students to design, build, invent and experiment. Students are challenged to use the materials they have to solve a specific problem, or they have the freedom to come up with their own project ideas.

These spaces can already be found in most elementary schools’ STEAM labs, giving students easy access to resources to practice critical thinking and problem-solving through design. The mobile element of the Rotary’s donation gives schools the flexibility to use the resource in a variety of spaces throughout the building, including individual classrooms where it might lend itself to a particular lesson.

“The addition of more storage is a huge complement to our current space,” said Independence Principal Greg Finke. “With over 110 students using the space each day, organization of materials is a key aspect for allowing students’ creativity to be limitless.”

The donation is the next generation of the Rotary’s annual grant supporting Lakota schools, replacing its earlier tradition to provide a personal dictionary to every Lakota third-grader.