A District Treasure: The CHS/CMS MakerSpace
Tucked away in the left side of the CHS/CMS library is a resourceful gem not many students really know about: the MakerSpace.
It is a common misconception that the MakerSpace is simply a place that houses the district's 3D printers; however, there is actually quite a bit more to it than that.
First, yes, there are 3D printers.
(The MakerSpace includes multiple 3D printers. Malachi Mitchell/The Cavalier)
There are actually 3 of them, and they are able to print out figurines like a dragon, Pokemon, or a cute little cat, for example.
(A 3D pen was used to construct a cat figurine. Malachi Mitchell/The Cavalier)
In addition, there is a construction bench with tools that students can use to construct various projects.
(A student is using this area to construct a solar panel. Malachi Mitchell/The Cavalier)
Furthermore, there are parts that can be made into a quick little robot or maybe a robot that can pick things up.
(Lego robotics can be constructed in the MakerSpace. Malachi Mitchell/The Cavalier)
There are also materials for those who have an interest in electricity via circuits makers. The MakerSpace kit provides a simple way of learning how to make circuits with a variety of challenge cards.
(The Snap Circuits Light kit is available for use in the library. Malachi Mitchell/The Cavalier)
Along with the Snap Circuits and Little Bits that students can use to make electricity, there is another unusual option: the Makey Makey, which is a kit that can be use to get electricity from bananas or potatoes.
(The Makey Makey kit incorporates the use of produce. Malachi Mitchell/The Cavalier)
Also located in the MakerSpace is the augmented reality sandbox. At first glance, it appears to be a normal sandbox; however, moving the sand around will display the change in topography (it can even display virtual water).
The space also carries low-tech items, such as die cutters, a Cricut, and a Duct-tape station.
"It's just a resource for students to come and work on projects and to help them in their academic classes," said CHS/CMS librarian Nancy Thornsberry.
The MakerSpace was a passion project for Thornsberry, who first learned about this type of resource room at the AASL Conference a couple of years ago.
"I just started throwing lots of things into a room and calling it a MakerSpace," said Thornsberry.
Then, after attending a MakerSpace workshop in the summer of 2016, Thornsberry decided her space needed more options for students.
Thornsberry later learned about an LSTA grant that could help her cause. After drafting a couple of proposals, Thornsberry applied for the grant.
"I was able to get some money to get the high-tech items that are in the MakerSpace."
To date, approximately $18,000 has been invested into the MakerSpace, according to Thornsberry.
One student who has utilized the MakerSpace is CHS student Audrey Corzine. The senior has been working as a Google HelpDesk intern this year. In this capacity, she repairs Chromebooks and works on various technology-based projects.
"As I work in there, I get a college credit with Southern State, working through Josh Montgomery, who is also a professor at Southern State," said Corzine.
During the first part of the school year, Corzine said she helped create an agenda to present the augmented reality sandbox to students at the Science Alliance.
"The sandbox can be really useful in science classrooms teaching students about topographical maps and how elevation works ... and how the movement of water can be affected with landforms," said Corzine.
(The MakerSpace's virtual sandbox provides a 3D take on topography. Malachi Mitchell/The Cavalier)
Currently, Corzine is working to create a solar panel -- an item she hopes will supply power to the district's new FarmBot.
Thornsberry said, at present time, the MakerSpace is most often used by students who want to create lettering for the bulletin boards, but she is hoping that over time more people will be able to use some of its more advanced features.
"It is the first year, and we are still trying to figure out the logistics and how to get the word out to students and teachers that it is available to them as a resource," said Thornsberry.
With all these interesting things to tinker with, students and staff might consider taking a class project to the next level by utilizing the MakerSpace!
For more information, contact CHS/CMS Librarian Mrs. Nancy Thornsberry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAVS News reporter Jaymie Grim contributed to this article.