Week 6 Initial EDET677: What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

Aleta May
EDET 677 Mechanical Applications of Technology with Dr. Graham
Week 6 Initial Post

This week’s essential question just happens on the first ever week called “National Week of Making” (officially started on June 17 through June 23) that will unveil several new initiatives and begin by expanding across 50 states in more than 1,400 schools: https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/20/president-unveils-new-initiatives-during-national-week-of-making.aspx?admgarea=Features1&m=1

A Maker Promise includes a K-12 school leader who will support their school or district by setting aside space for making, and showcasing student projects after having a making campaign. In the planning stages are commitments by schools , companies/organizations that will set up coding labs, fab labs, mobile labs for further community access, as well as pilot programs and more.

At the website listed in the references, “Where to Buy Supplies,” website is a whole list of weblinks for places shoppers may go to buy supplies for their Makerspace. Since I know that my new administrator wants to bring in at least one 3D printer to our school, In Libow & Stager, on page 154, there is a percentage list for allocating a budget for setting up a FabLab. I went to the link listed on this page: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1U-jcBWOJEjBT5A0N84IUubtcHKMEMtndQPLCkZCkVsU/pub?single=true&gid=0&output=html and found out that the cost of their Fab Lab Inventory as of 6-24-16 had gone up from the writing of the book by about $6,650. Since this is listed for the MIT budget, of course it is very expensive. Two points come to my mind. First, the prices of items are rising, and our school’s focus could be more on percentages. At this point, what I do know is that 3D printers would fall under the major equipment purchase category; and our textbook recommends that this type of equipment be around 40% of the budget.

Also, I realize that there is a wide array of 3D printers, and that new makers need equipment that is both durable, and where the filler for making items is affordable. In the rural area of Alaska where things are either flown in or sent in on a barge, the chemical content of some liquids, fillers, etc. can add significantly to the shipping price tag—so this is a definite consideration. Also, a 3D printer needs to come with company support for troubleshooting any issues encountered during the making process. This can be in the form of video clips and pdfs., but will also need to include strong customer service; maybe even over Skype. Assuming this will become a trend across the district, albeit gradually, we may need technology support in Bethel who can come in to fix a machine.

Other percentage categories from the budget include 10% for each: spare parts for equipment, electronic parts and consumable supplies, tools, and computer or tablets and Android devices that are “easier to create apps for” Martinez & Stager,” 2013, p. 143), and finally “books, safety equipment, cleaning supplies, office supplies and storage” (Martinez & Stager, p. 154). To stock a Makerspace, Hlubinka (2013) mentioned that each school is very individualized. I remember thinking about clearing out a section upstairs in our school for a book room arranged by themes and levels that are in sets teachers could checkout for their class. Since we have such space issues in our school, I do believe that we can have some space cleared out of the library for placing big, shared items.

We can also clear out an area for students to go upstairs for completing projects. This fall, our school program will continue to be split 50%/50% for dual language through the 5th grade, but this will now go all the way down to Kindergarten instead of starting with 2nd grade. The students stay in the same room while teachers move between classrooms to teach two grade levels. With some classroom sizes larger than others, carving out a corner for making may be limited. Carrying items up and down the steep stairs is not safe for most of the elementary students. So likely the more dangerous tools and projects would be located up stairs. Setting up more than one Makerspace area will likely affect the budget.

This means that basic stocks will fall into the categories listed on page 147 of Libow & Stager:

• Electronic parts and tools
• Computers, cameras, software
• Craft and art supplies
• Building materials and traditional tools
• Junk for recycling into new products
• A library

Hlubinka (2013) makes a good point that “No matter how durable the tool, equipment always begets more equipment. Hand tools need toolboxes or cabinets to organize them. Battery-powered tools need charging stations” (p. 4). This goes on further to imply that other items that may not initially considered in a list are vacuums, first aid kits, filters for equipment, sharpening blades, and more. It seems like to me that it would work best to start out building Makerspace(s) that are focused according to grade levels. Maybe the younger students could start with very simple tablet coding programs, like an open source dialect of Logo called Scratch, that uses turtle animation to replace text-based programming with snap-together blocks” (p. 137, Libow & Stager) where they can animate stories. The next grade levels could start using LiliPad Arduino for Flora for creating “wearable computing construction materials” (p. 124, Libow & Stager) to work with fabrics and electronics.

A Makerspace library should include pre-bookmarked sites set up to go to Make Magazine Arduino, Super Awesome Sylvia’s Simple Arduino Projects, and Instructables for project ideas (p. 125, Libow & Stager). Books that support Arduino and other platforms students use can line shelves in that bookroom I mentioned earlier, for a variety of age levels.

Setting up a Makerspace by buying used, as suggested by Hlubinka (2013) is a good idea. I bought a very sturdy table for setting up a Makerspace in my home this summer off Craig’s List. I think putting out a wish list to the community Calista Corporation leaders and our schoolboard members might be a way to have an initial Makerspace “shower” and item tagged money-tree, for our new area. Since the article by Chang mentions support by Chevron, maybe we can gain support in Alaska from large oil companies to reconstruct or build new Makerspaces.


Chang, R. (6-20-16). Maker movement: President unveils new initiatives during national week of making. https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/06/20/president-unveils-new-initiatives-during-national-week-of-making.aspx?admgarea=Features1&m=1

Gabreski, G. (Retrieved June 24, 2016). Where to buy supplies

Hlubinka, M. B. (2013). Stocking up school makerspaces.

Libow, M., S. & Stager, G. (2013). Invent To Learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. (Chapters Six, Seven and Eight)

3 thoughts on “Week 6 Initial EDET677: What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it?

  1. katemullin17

    Aleta, you have done a nice job of not only looking at what you might want to have in your space, but also the challenges of having such items. Rural Alaska poses such an array of different challenges to setting up a makerspace. Even though Sitka is urban by Alaska standards, ordering simple items such as button batteries has posed a challenge because of delivery issues. Repairs and support for equipment is a consideration I hadn’t considered as well.

    Your ideas for funding are excellent. Local corporations have a vested interest in their future employees, so providing quality educational experiences to students benefits everyone.

    1. aletakmay Post author

      Thank you, Kate. Although I have not been there, only to Juneau in SouthEast AK, I’m sure Sitka has a variety of small stores for necessities, but not for those unique electronic items that will be used in a Makerspace! Isn’t Sitka even more remote and smaller than Juneau? And delivery issues must be similar to my village–the plane is too full with people and their items to add mail this trip, the weather permitting mail delivery, and whatever else comes up (some unique and laughable deterrent to receiving mail in a timely fashion). Maybe pre-planning one project at a time, and gradually building the space is a better plan for both of us. It is difficult to describe the unique issues of places in AK that rely on planes and barges–weather permitting. So our style of building Makerspaces in a “tight budget” era will need to be creative for sure.

  2. Pingback: EDET677 Reflection–Week Six: What stuff will you stock your making space with, what’s the cost, and how will you fund it? | aleta57

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