The American International School of Budapest is starting a maker club this winter for middle school and fifth grade students. The goal is to give students opportunities to experience what it's like to create and problem solve using tools and materials that they would probably not encounter otherwise.
Students will be given ideas about what kind of projects they might want to work on. Freedom and choice are important. Some examples of technologies we will be using are computer aided design (CAD) to be output to a computer controlled cutter or 3D printer, prototyping with Lego Mindstorms (programmable machines), working with Arduino micro-controllers and Raspberry Pi micro-computers, woodworking, sewing, etc.
With the removal of "shop class" and home economics classes from most college preparatory programs, students today have fewer opportunities to make, repair or tinker with the tangible world. A maker space is a great way to help students be creative and to experience real, authentic problem solving. Maker spaces give students a reason to develop their math, science, arts, tech and entrepreneurial skills through real-world application. Creating in these environments allows students to learn from one another and to see new possibilities.
This is the first year we are doing this at AISB. No doubt, everyone involved will learn a lot, and in keeping with the maker ethos, even when we fail, we will have learned what doesn't work.