Kennett Middle School Embraces Maker Spaces

While attending the Pennsylvania School Library Association’s annual conference last year, Kennett Middle School librarian Mrs. Virginia McGarvey learned about “maker spaces.” Mrs. McGarvey was instantly inspired by the idea of a collaborative work space that enables students to make, learn, explore, and share ideas.

Local Boy Scout Charlie Streitwieser and superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti

Maker spaces provide hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build, and invent as they deeply engage in science, engineering, and tinkering. The spaces are an extension of the STEM curriculum at Kennett Consolidated School District. These spaces vary in design and can feature maker equipment ranging from 3D printers and laser cutters to Legos and cardboard. No matter the budget, a maker space provides hands-on learning for students of all ages.

Kennett Middle School agreed that a maker space featuring a movable Lego wall with a Ball-Drop Construction Challenge on the reverse side, constructed of Lego base plates, PVC piping, and countersunk magnets, would be a great addition to the library. Unfortunately, the costs would be very expensive. Determined to bring this space to Kennett Middle School students, Mrs. McGarvey extended the idea to Salesianum High School

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senior Charlie Streitwieser, who was looking for ideas to complete his Eagle Scout project.

Charlie, a Boy Scout from BSA Troop 22, jumped at the idea and began to design and construct Kennett Middle’s School new maker space. A fundraising page was created and sent out to the community explaining the project and its benefits. The fantastic generosity of the community allowed Kennett Middle School to purchase and donate the most important materials.

After a few months of hard work, Charlie completed and delivered the new maker space to Kennett Middle School’s library. “The addition of this maker space will be a great extension to our STEM program,” superintendent Dr. Barry Tomasetti explained. “This space creates a great opportunity for students to problem-solve together.”

“We are so grateful for Charlie and our generous community for making this project possible. Students now come in at lunch time to create structures and pictures on the Lego wall. They work well together in groups naturally and politely without prompting,” Mrs. McGarvey said. “They are learning collaboration, problem-solving, and developing better communication skills. It is great to watch the students be creative through play.”

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The new maker space has proven to be a huge hit among the students, who are enjoying collaborating, solving problems, and having fun with their peers.