Untraditional learning: Students design, create during Makers Space

Students at Columbiana High School and Glenwood Junior High School in Boardman are learning by trial and error, while still having fun

Boardman Glenwood Junior High students are learning STEM skills in a Makers Space club.

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Many schools have adopted more creative learning tactics, including one that’s known as the “Makers Space” classroom where students are free to create and design whatever they want, while learning important lessons and skills.

Legos, race cars, paint and a 3D printer are the supplies in one Columbiana High School classroom. While it may seem like just a period of fun, Principal Hostetler says students are still learning and using STEM principles.

“This is what we call an unstructured learning environment. We want the kids to come in here, relax, kind of get their mind off their studies but at the same time, have an opportunity to learn.”

Senior Rodney Schnarrenberg says it’s about learning how to use the different tools they’re given.

“You’re learning app design, you’re learning how to build things and you’re having fun while you’re doing it,” Alayna Hostetler said.

That’s the point of Makers Space – to have fun and learn at the same time. Every activity has science, technology, engineering, math and art lessons.

“It’s just to engage them in different ways,” Principal Hostetler said.

Some students swap out study hall time to do Makers Space, but they do need a keep a certain grade point average to stay in the class.

Columbiana started its Makers Space program at the beginning of the school year but at Glenwood Junior High School in Boardman, it’s only two weeks old. Glenwood already has 30 students in its club.

“Basically, you can use anything in this room to build anything you want,” said eighth grader Fatima Rehma.

She’s making a lamp and has to do a lot of measuring and math to make sure it comes out right.

Teddy Anzevino is making a Rubik’s Cube by using a 3D printer to make the pieces. He’s always enjoyed making things, but says the Rubik’s Cube is pretty complicated and takes a lot of fixing.

“It doesn’t come out perfect, so I have to fix it with a saw.”

Sometimes the corrections take two to three hours.

“I try to come as early as I can,” he said.

When the pieces were not properly aligned on the 3D printing software, Anzevino had to fix them again.

“We brought it back in, he made his adjustment, test printed again, and then we printed all those parts and everything seems to be working okay,” said Tim Harker, a technology teacher at Glenwood.

Kids at both schools like the creative freedom Makers Space brings.

“It’s a different way of learning, and I don’t think we’re teaching that way as much anymore with all the standardized testing,” Harker said. “They’re able to learn from failure, which is something that sounds a little odd, but it’s a big part of the engineering process.”

Being workforce ready, or proficient in an industry skill, is one way a student can graduate in Ohio. Makers Space classes can help students with that.

Glenwood Junior High has Makers Space at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, before school starts, and students still come. It’s so popular that the school is adding another meeting time on Thursday after school to get more students involved.

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