Pictured is a bristle bot comprised of the head of a toothbrush, a cellphone's vibration motor and battery.
Pictured is a bristle bot comprised of the head of a toothbrush, a cellphone's vibration motor and battery.

   In a small classroom in Quest Charter School, one might hear the snapping of fettuccine noodles, whirring of robots and phrases such as “Look what I created,” “If you try this...,” or “Let me show you how to do that.”

   This isn’t any ordinary classroom though.

   It’s makerspace.

   According to Quest fifth-grade teacher Janet Ernst who manages makerspace, it is a free-time project area that’s “giving students the opportunity to be innovative and creative and have that kind of tinker-play type time to discover and learn.”

   She added makerspace is based on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiative, but Quest also incorporates art as well, so for the charter school, it’s STEAM.

   Makerspace has been a trend for the last four to five years in education, and was something Ernst was always interested in creating for the school.

   “We’ve got a lot of evidence out there now, scientific evidence, that students learn a lot through play, through exploration,” Ernst said. “Sometimes in the classroom, we’ve got so many standards that we need to cover, it’s hard to provide that kind of time to do some of that creative thinking. Also, it’s easier to do that in smaller groups.”

   Read the full story, including parent and student feedback regarding the space, in the Jan. 31, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.