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News & Events

Engaging Minds and Hands with a Middle School Makerspace

In Coleridge, NE, Principal Mark Leonard and his staff at the middle school delved into discussions about introducing a makerspace. With a focus on boosting STEM opportunities and weaving technology into their curriculum, they set out to bring their vision to life.

A 3D printed chess board, a product of the makerspace at the middle school.

Mark set out to integrate makerspace sessions into the student schedule, securing a grant for a Bambu 3D Printer and LUMA Robots. With technology instructor Alex McKamy on board, they wasted no time getting started. The makerspace is accessible during technology classes, scheduled class visits, and WIN Time (Whatever Is Needed) – a dedicated block for student ventures that includes the option to utilize the makerspace. Alongside the printer and robots, the makerspace now features a laser engraver, Cricut machines, heat presses, and 3D pens.

Students quickly embraced the 3D printer, excitedly creating items. Initially, Alex gave them free rein to print “anything and everything they wanted,” resulting in various creations, from dragons to toys and fidgets. Using a modeling website, students have been honing their design skills. Presently, they’re venturing into crafting items for the school store and local events to support the future of the makerspace. The LUMA robots are now part of the curriculum across all grades, enabling students to assemble and program them.

Two 3D printed, segmented sharks created in the middle school makerspace.

“We want to put the newest technology in our students’ hands so that they can gain that super valuable experience, and push them in the direction of what employers want in skills for their future employees.”
– Alex

Looking ahead, Mark and Alex aim to broaden the range of technology offered in the makerspace and welcome community members into the school. They’re currently organizing “Community Create & Construct” nights to highlight the technology at the middle school, showcasing student projects and the wide variety of products that can be made in the makerspace. We can’t wait to follow along!

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