West Pictou is home to the CCRSB’s first Makerspace, an initiative funded through a partnership between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and Brilliant Labs. The funding allowed for one Makerspace to be established in each school board for the 2015-2016 school year.
“I think the Makerspace is important, because it gives students a place to come and try out their ideas,” said Logan Barnes, one of the student leaders. “You get to figure out why something works the way it does.”
West Pictou students Keeley Shipley, Adam Dykstra and Logan Barnes – known throughout the school as KAL Tech – all act as mentors to younger students and trainers for the staff.
Dykstra loves robotics, Barnes is a coder and Shipley’s passion lies with Makey Makey, an invention kit that turns everyday objects into touchpads for computer programs.
The Makerspace is a place for students to explore, inquire and grow their ideas into reality. From stop-motion animation, to sewing, clay, coding and robotics, there is something for every student to explore.
“There are things happening in science and social studies that are overflowing into the Makerspace,” Principal Cindy Turner excitedly explained. “Just recently a group of students were learning about cell reproduction. They went into the Makerspace and used the Green Screen to demonstrate how cell reproduction happens. For kids that are hands-on, the Makerspace is a dream place!”
The Makerspace has become so important to the students that Turner has already had students from Grade 8 tell her that next year, when they move on to high school, they want to come back to teach and mentor the younger students. “So many positive things have come from this Makerspace that we just didn’t anticipate. The peer mentoring is one of those things. Older student are enthusiastic to lend support to students in lower grades. That builds resiliency and capacity. It’s been wonderful.”
Selected Grade 8 students and staff from the CCRSB will be taking part in MakerTech 2016 on Feb. 22 in Debert, doing things like coding, robotics, stop-motion, wearable technology and green screening.