Makerspace Workshop at Willow Lane posted on 09/08/2014
On Wednesday, August 20th, during the second EPSD Employee Development Day, the staff of Willow Lane Elementary School engaged in a Makerspace workshop conducted by Julia Dweck, Anthony Moyer, and Ken Jones and Ron Morris, proprietors of Mercantile Home in Easton, PA. Makerspaces are learning centers with tools. They combine manufacturing tools and equipment for the purposes of enabling students to design, prototype, and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with resources available to individuals working alone. Makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering, fabrication, and education.

Staff members learned about the philosophy behind Makerspaces, then engaged in an actual Makerspace session. Ken and Ron provided a plethora of fabrics and sewing tools so teams could create tote bags for resale in their Easton shop, Mercantile Home. Tote bags needed to be unique, represent each team member’s contribution, withstand five pounds of weight, and serve one additional interesting purpose aside from holding items. Teams were also required to determine their sales demographic, develop a brand name, and determine a sales category.

The creativity and innovation of the Willow Lane staff was extraordinary. Ken and Ron were so impressed that they requested permission to use some of the designs for their shop. As a result of actually experiencing a Makerspace session, staff members intend to include Makerspace sessions in their classrooms to teach curriculum standards and foster creativity and innovation in students.