Big Shanty MakerSpace

Recently Jennifer Boykin with RealTour, a Partner in Education with Big Shanty Intermediate School, created the virtual 3D view of our school’s Makerspace seen above.

On any given day so many different learning experiences happen for students in this space. Before school, a girls’ reading club convenes in the MakerSpace, excitedly discussing which book to read next. As school officially begins, third graders come in to learn about heat by boiling water and cooking brownies. Next up, fifth graders review science standards using BeeBots and Osmo kits.

The next day, small groups of fourth graders use the green screen to make “weather report” videos, another third grade class uses the Makerspace for creative book reports, and after school the GEMS Club (Girls Engaged in Science) meet to make rock crystals.

On yet another day, the MOID class uses recycled water bottles to create wind chimes for their sensory garden and then after school the Makers’ Club members work on designing and sewing with conductive thread to create wristbands using programmable Arduino Tinys that light up with different patterns.

Teachers often collaborate with the library media specialist, Barbara Powell-Schaeger, for a coding lesson, and at other times they will conduct their own lessons, such as using the Chatterpix app to create “talking turkeys” to commemorate the first Thanksgiving.  Teachers also send small groups of students using a special “Library Rx” pass to work independently on a project, such as using the green screen to create book reports, or work with the BeeBots, or use the materials to create posters.  The Makerspace is often used for a unit’s culminating activity, with students using the 50” monitor to share their iPad creations.

The Makerspace is a great meeting space not just for the school, but also for community meetings, like PTA board meetings. Kate Jacobsen, Cobb County Public Librarian, Kennesaw Branch, holds monthly reading club meetings there.  One of the best things about the Makerspace is it has made it possible for the Learning Commons to simultaneously accommodate up to  three classes – each doing different things.  For example, one class can be using the Makerspace, while another class is having a lesson in the instructional area, and a third class is checking out books – all simultaneously!

Three years ago, Janell McClure, the LME Supervisor, upon visiting the Big Shanty Media Center, planted the seed of converting what was then an office into a Maker Space. Book fairs and other fundraisers were conducted throughout the year to purchase the furnishings for the Makerspace, and it was stocked with any materials the library media specialist could easily obtain, such as craft sticks, straws, recyclables, scissors, and glue.  That same year a Cobb Foundation Grant funded Kano Kits and BeeBots for teaching coding.  The Makerspace was truly functional and up and running!  This year a Donor’s Choose grant supplied a toaster oven, Osmo Kits, and Snap Circuits.  The most recent addition is a 3D printer. The Makerspace has proven to be such an engaging part of the Learning Commons transformation and is now a favorite space to teach, learn, collaborate, and share with teachers, students, and community.

Big Shanty Intermediate Learning Commons

Holly Frilot, Supervisor
Library Media Education

Contributing Author: Barbara Powell-Schager
Library Media Specialist



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