I am frequently asked for advice on what materials to purchase for school maker spaces. I am definitely not an expert on this topic, but I have gotten a couple of grants for B.O.S.S. HQ (Building of Super Stuff Headquarters) that have allowed me to try out different products. I thought I would devote this week to sharing about a few items that I have judged to be well worth the money.
(If you intend to apply for a grant for a school maker space, be sure to research your district’s policies on spending grant money. If you need to use approved vendors, then you should verify that you will be able to purchase the items you propose and that the vendor will accept your district’s preferred method of payment.)
Legos may seem like a no-brainer when it comes to maker space essentials, but it actually took me awhile to realize that we needed to add them to our inventory. There were a couple of reasons I resisted their inclusion:
- Many of my students have Legos at home, so there seemed to be no point in offering them at school as well,
- I’m an idiot.
My students have been working with Lego robots for a few years, so I didn’t see the need for any additional tiny pieces ending up on the floor waiting to ambush me. And, to be honest, I kind of got stuck on the kit part of Legos, which didn’t seem like the best outlet for creativity.
We added a few last year because some of my students wanted to do a Lego stop-motion film for Genius Hour. The small box of Legos a parent donated seemed like plenty to me.
But then we kept getting robots that included Lego adapters and students kept asking, “Where are the Legos?” and our pitiful supply did not impress them, and I finally gave in and sent out an all-call to parents and staff for more Lego donations.
Legos, like cardboard boxes, are ubiquitous, it seems. Before I knew it, we had several bins of Legos, donated by parents and teachers who were grateful to re-home them, and my students were happily digging through the pieces to find the perfect accessories for their robots. (I’ll be talking more about the robots in tomorrow’s post.)
Some of the robots, like Sphero, don’t even come with Lego adapters. Yet my students managed to find a way to create a Sphero chariot with the donated Legos. The slideshow below shows Legos with Cubelets and Edison also.
If you don’t have robots or the materials to do stop-motion, here are some other ideas for using Legos in a maker space:
The Lego Education page has more information on their robotics kits and other products designed specifically for schools.
Click here for a list of Lego-related posts I have done in the past.
For more maker space ideas, here is my Pinterest Board.