Helping Build the Makerspace: Skill Building Without Pressure

I led a group of students in building storage for the makerspace. Together, we built a large rack for storing lumber and a rolling toolbox/whiteboard combo.20140807_083616

Obviously this was very helpful for Lighthouse School. The high school makerspace is currently a multi-function room -a common scenario for makerspaces in schools. It is shared by the science teacher, art teacher, making elective, robotics class, and after school making program. They really needed some extra storage, especially after we bought a bunch of metalworking equipment.20140721_150631

Having the students help build these structures made the students feel ownership and pride in the space. I didn’t quite feel comfortable having them fully design and build, especially in California with earthquake concerns. So I settled on designing the rack myself, and having students do the majority of the cutting and drilling.


The lumber rack served as a skill-building project for our woodworking week. While they were drawing out designs, students were called out in groups to learn to measure and cut parts on the mitre saw. Once all the parts were cut, groups then learned about pre-drilling and screwing by building the various frames/shelves. This way, students could learn without the fear of ‘messing up’ their own materials. There was a group of six students planning a very ambitious project. They are designing and building a trophy case for the school. During their design phase I often borrowed a few to add new parts and learn about strong construction techniques. Students would bring back these lessons to their trophy case design meetings, and improve their individual project.



During the final week of camp, there was one student who was a very motivated builder, but had trouble coming up with ideas. After a day of indecision, I talked to him about building some tool storage. He decided this was a great project, and built an amazing lockable box that perfectly fits Lighthouse’s new metalworking tools.20140807_114055