As I reflect upon my own makerspace journey, I can’t help but recognize the exponential growth of makerspace products over the years. When we first launched our space over 6 years ago, I could almost count the number of makerspace products on the market on one hand. Since then, there has been a tsunami of products that have entered this space, and while that has been exciting to witness, it also has been daunting. Educators are often left wondering what products they should purchase and which ones are right for their
I am proud to introduce to you, the Worlds of Making Top Ten Makerspace Favorites of 2018!
1 – Brickstuff
Brickstuff is the perfect way to light up LEGO® builds. This starter kit includes everything you need to get started. No electronics or soldering knowledge is necessary to set up these lights and start using them right away. Each flexible 2-LED Light Strip has a self-adhesive backing, which allows easy mounting to almost any surface. The strips are flexible, allowing you to mount them even on curved surfaces. This kit also includes a battery pack, so you can be up and running right away. This kit is ready to use with any microcontroller or robotics project too. Here is one of our creations:
2 – Unruly Splats
Movement, and the value and impact it has on
3 – EverBlock Systems
4 – IDEO Method Cards
With so much focus on the design process, the IDEO Method Cards are the perfect companion. These cards are low-tech and offer 51 ways to inspire design, while keeping humans at the center of the process, the whole time. Each card describes one method and includes a brief story about how and when to use it. These cards are not a “how to” guide. They are a design tool meant to help you explore new approaches and develop your own. The deck can be used to take a new view, to inspire creativity, to communicate with a team, or to turn a corner. Read more about them here.
5 – Dowling Magnets Junior Architect Wonderboard®Magnet Set
In a previous post, I outlined ways in which educators can move beyond just creating LEGO® walls in their makerspace, and create other kinds of interactive learning walls (and tables!). This magnet set fits into that space perfectly. This set allows children to design and construct their own imaginative building while exploring art, spatial geometry, and engineering principles. The set Includes 150 magnets (architectural elements), an instruction sheet with designs and background information; as well as a double-sided, magnetic dry-erase board! They also have printable magnet sheets here.
6 – AlphaBriks and MathBriks
For those of you who read my first book, you will know that my point of entry into the maker movement was through literacy. I am always on a quest to further integrate literacty into makerspaces. In terms of STEM and makerspaces, I feel that Mathematics is often overlooked, as compared to the other letters in STEM. This is why I love these AlphaBriks and MathBriks sets from StrictlyBriks so much.
7 – Mini-Materials
The team at Mini Materials has really created something very unique and special. Avoiding plastics and paint, they have created mini versions of products familiar to the construction world. Supplies like cinder blocks, red bricks, jersey barriers, pallets and lumber all made the same way their replicated versions are made. Using real cement, wood and nails these are all handmade in the USA. They are fantastic teaching tools for math and architecture. We even built a sandbox to house the materials and allow our students to build! Take a look at the blueprints they have available too. Check out their Ultimate Sample Set here.
8 – Chalk of the Town
This Chalkboard T-Shirt from Chalk of the Town caught my eye a few years ago now, and we have had fun with it ever since. While it may be
9 – Rockwell Tools- Jawhorse
Last year, marked the first year that we got heavy into woodworking in our makerspace. One of my students even created a shelf for my kitchen! This portable Jawhorse Work Station by Rockwell Tools was something my students found that came in handy during that time. With space being an issue for many educators in their makerspace, and mobility continuing to be more and more of a focus, this tool fits the bill perfectly!
10 – Hands-On Coding
While I understand the conflict of interest by including one of my own products on this top ten list, we are too proud and excited about this product not to include it! It has been an interesting journey to be able to actually manufacture a product as a member of the amazing Hands-On Coding team! Being three educators with over 50 years of combined experience, we realized there was a gap and a need in terms of teaching computer science, that we knew we had to fill. Our Hands-On Coding blocks allow for a screen-free way of learning the fundamentals of computer science, while also allowing children to get up and get moving and act out their algorithms. We believe in keeping the human at the center of the process and have worked hard to put these blocks into the hands of children far and wide. Hands-On-Coding is now in countries around the world and have had a profound impact on many. We are looking so forward to all that is ahead in 2019!
Well, there you have it! The Worlds of Making Top Ten Makerspace Favorites of 2018! We are already on the lookout for 2019! Be sure to share your favorites with us at #worldsofmaking!