The way I see it, one of the biggest advantages of Makerspaces is providing an open ended space where students can design a solution to a real life teachable moment. There is no way to anticipate what that teachable moment will be. That is why Makerspaces are perfect. Students desperately need Makerspaces, teachable spaces that can answer those teachable moments, where the solution requires ingenuity and creativity. Creativity is a critical skill to remain globally competitive. (Resnick 2017) (Kim 2016) However, longitudinal studies conducted by Dr. K.H. Kim at the College of William and Mary revealed while students IQ’s are increasing their creativity is decreasing. One can only use what is in the Makerspace. Much like the engineers who had to come up with a solution for the Apollo 13 crises, one learns flexibility, adaptation and fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Teachable moments can be anything. Don’t overthink it. Something you read about, talk about, hear about something that makes you and your students say there must be a way; make that situation better, make it easier, make it work.
Recently a cat adopted our family, (we did try desperately to find her owner, no luck.) For a variety of reasons, it seems she was dumped at our house. As we got to know the cat better, we found she has some atypical behavior. Among those behaviors we found she does not play like a typical cat. Anytime we put a toy on a string or try to get her to play she looks at us very scared and hides. The teachable moment? What can we design that she can play with, that she can approach on her own terms, when we are not around. So using Bracktiz, and other household items we created a stand alone interactive holder for a cat toy with catnip. We are still working on a gear that will respond moving up and down when batted. It is these unpredictable yet teachable moments where learners can take a situation, imagine, design, develop a prototype, fail ,redesign, and succeed!. They will test, observe, and improve. Students will work together. While all this is going on, they are using math, language arts (documentation and directions, summarizing the project), and more. No subject matter is left untouched. The hardest part is not having those ready made lesson plans and jumping on those teachable moments. I know it is not easy with all the demands on teachers. However having a Makerspace in your room, library or both will provide an avenue to nurture those soft skills such as cooperative learning, and creativity that all students need as they become college and career ready.